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Young artists in grades 4 through 12  are invited to ignite interest in the impact of women of color from the region through original art projects inspired by
Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast.  

Original works of art are being solicited that highlight the accomplishments and stories of women of color featured on the Lighting the Way: Historic Women of the SouthCoast website. Artworks will be exhibited at the New Bedford Whaling Museum during March 2023 Women’s History Month in a short-term exhibition. All pieces included in the showcase will also be eligible for an award based on their relevance, creativity, and originality. Selected pieces also may be featured on the Lighting the Way website or other New Bedford Whaling Museum materials.

How to Participate

Instructions for youth in grades 4 – 12:

  1. Choose a historic woman from Lighting the Way. Artists are encouraged to highlight the accomplishments of women of color. Explore some of these women profiled on Lighting the Way here:
  2. Check out some of these resources in the links to help you plan your artmaking:
    1. This worksheet walks you through steps to plan your artwork and write your artist statement.
    2. This short video gives you ideas for planning your artwork and selecting the art materials you want to use.
    3. This short video visits the Whaling Museum to show the power of art to tell stories.
  3. Now create a painting, drawing, collage, or digital artwork that tells us about your chosen woman’s accomplishments!  
    1. Your artwork must be: 8 x 10 inches, 8.5 x 11 inches, 9 x 12, 12 x 18 inches, or 11 x 14 inches.
    2.  Title your artwork. 
  4. Write an artist statement (see details below).
  5. Submit your entry here by midnight on Sunday, February 12, 2023. You will need to login into a Google account to submit the form.
  6. You  will be notified by February 18, 2023 with instructions to bring your artwork to the Whaling Museum.
  7. Plan to attend the showcase opening event at New Bedford Whaling Museum on Thursday, March 9 at 5:30 PM. This event is free and open to the public. 

Print or download a PDF flyer here.

Hey Teachers!

Participation in the Ignite Youth Artist Showcase project can provide students opportunities to engage with several of the Guiding Principles and standards for the Massachusetts Digital Literacy & Computer Science, English Language Arts & Literacy, and History & Social Science Frameworks. View examples here.

If you have questions about whether your curricular adaptations are eligible for submission, please contact Cathy Saunders at

Submissions Must Include the Following:

  • Completed submission form at
  • An Artist Statement. An artist statement is 1-2 paragraphs. (The artist statement will be used by the judges in selecting awards). 
    • Tell us about yourself.
    • Tell us why you chose this woman for the artwork and why you think she is important.  
    • Describe what you created and why. 
  • A high-quality photo of the artwork as a digital file in JPG
    • Your artwork can be a drawing, painting, collage, or digital artwork. 
    • It must be one of the following sizes: 8 x 10 inches, 8.5 x 11 inches, 9 x 12, 12 x 18 inches, or 11 x 14 inches. Larger artwork cannot be accepted.

Important Dates

January 16: Contest begins
January 16 – February 12: Review the instructional worksheet and videos, and create your artwork.
February 12: Submission deadline for all entries.
February 18: You will be notified with instructions to bring your artwork to the Whaling Museum.
February 24: Delivery deadline for artwork to be displayed at the showcase.
March 9: Ignite showcase opening event takes place.
March 7 – 25: Ignite exhibition on display at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Cathy Saunders, Lighting the Way Coordinator:

To see images from previous year’s Showcases, visit the IGNITE 2020 page or the IGNITE 2022 page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lighting the Way: Historic Women of SouthCoast explores the historical impact of women from the region and is unearthing remarkable stories of women who have shaped their SouthCoast Communities. Learn more at

If you choose, you will be given credit for your piece. However, if you choose to be anonymous, you can do that as well.

Yes. The Whaling Museum will not assume ownership of your piece. The Whaling Museum will contact you in April to pick up your piece.



This program is supported in part by a grant from the New Bedford Cultural Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

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