DATMA, the Massachusetts Design, Art, Technology Institute, is back in New Bedford for a sixth season, with a spotlight on public art, educational programs for adults and kids, and technology.

The public art is the Plastic Rooster, located in the rear of the YMCA building at Union and North Second Streets in downtown New Bedford.

The rooster is a common symbol of Portugal, with New Bedford having a large Portuguese polulation.

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Niko Sullivan, Chairman of  DATMA's Board of Directors, joined Townsquare Sunday to discuss the Plastic Rooster and some of the public events his organization has planned for 2024.

"We come back to New Bedford because of its history," Sullivan said. "There have been waves of technological advancement throughout the city's history, dating back to whaling and textile eras. We are hoping to embed in young people the sense that design and technology is cool, and may be a path to a career."

Courtesy Richard Gormley
Courtesy Richard Gormley

The theme of DATMA's 2024 season is "TRANSFORM: Reduce, Revive, Reimagine," and the Plastic Rooster is about that.

The rooster is the creation of street artist Bordalo II of Lisbon, Portugal, whose work often conveys important environmental messages. The 15-foot-tall rooster is made out of repurposed waste materials from landfills across the SouthCoast.

Eleventh-grade Metal Fabrication students from Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech also made major contributions to the project.

"They created the metal framework for the sculpture," Sullivan said. "They put plywood on the outside and had it installed in cement, and that's what the artist used as his canvas, so to speak."

Sullivan expects the Plastic Rooster to be in the city for five years.

Here's some of the workshops DATMA is offering this year:

Learn more about the treasured art collection at the New Bedford Free Public Library, 613 Pleasant Street, on July 11 and August 8 at 5:30 p.m.

An outdoor workshop will take place on July 11, sponsored by DATMA and Vineyard Wind, where children and adults can learn about wind energy and build their own windmill.

On August 8, a workshop is planned entitled "Trash Transformed." Families can explore the importance of recycling and waste reduction, while reusing discarded materials to create eco-friendly masterpieces.

You can learn more about DATMA workshops and events by visiting DATMA.org/events.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please email the host at jim.phillips@townsquaremedia.com.

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