March 26, 2019
Ashley Occhino Now ED at New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!

Ashley Occhino
November 28, 2017 — New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, a New Bedford nonprofit that provides interactive education in addition to serving as a primary cultural institution for the city and the South Coast, recently announced that Ashley Occhino has been named as its executive director.

Occhino succeeds Noelle Foye, who held the job since the New Bedford Art Museum and ArtWorks! Partners for the Arts & Community merged in February 2014 until she retired, for personal reasons, two months ago. Jamie Uretsky, curator at New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!, had been serving as acting director.

Occhino started her new job yesterday.

Lee Heald, a member of the museum’s board, quoted in SouthCoast Today, said, “We expect that Ashley will continue our strong support of community expression in the arts as well as support for excellence and achievement in the local arts community.”

Occhino most recently served as manager of studio class programs at the Worcester Art Museum, where she also was responsible for the education wing.

Earlier, she held management positions at Danforth Art in Framingham, the Children's Museum in Easton, and the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton.

“I’ve always found myself coming back to New Bedford again and again. There’s such a rich art community there,” said Occhino. “I really just want to embrace the idea of a community museum."

Occhino earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts and has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Savannah College of Art and Design.

During Foye's tenure, the museum expanded its staff as attendance and membership grew. A ceramics studio, computer lab, and additional classroom and office space were added to the museum while the museum shop was renovated and expanded, according to a report in Brockton Wicked Local.

“New Bedford is such a collaborative and warm community that works together for everyone’s benefit,” Foye said. “And I have such a great staff and board as partners. It has also been a great pleasure to work with the many other nonprofits, the local funders and the people in the community. I would say I am going to miss all of this except I suspect I will continue to stay connected here and to be involved.”

The museum, currently housed in a former bank building owned by the City of New Bedford, is exploring ways to enhance the structure to better meet exhibition needs, as well as education programs and staff.

For the year ending Dec. 31, 2016, New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! reported $487,000 in revenue, of which $375,000 came from contributions and grants, and $515,000 in expenses, according to its most recently available federal tax filing.

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