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FABRIC 2020 to honor Fall River’s connection to Portugal and history in textiles

Fado music duo Fado Bicha have recorded concert sessions for FABRIC 2020.Fado Bicha

Large-scale concert projections, audio-guided walking tours, artful illuminations in nature, and multi-disciplinary installations will span downtown Fall River. Visual and performance artists are gearing up to unveil their newest projects and engage with community members through creativity. Enter FABRIC 2020, a widespread arts festival on Oct. 16 and 17 curated locally and internationally to celebrate the city’s cultural ties to Portugal and history in the textile industry.

This year, the formerly in-person event has melded into a hybrid model combining socially distanced exhibitions across the city and virtual aspects. Fall River resident Michael Benevides collaborated with Portugal-based art impresarios Jesse James, Sofia Carolina Botelho, and António Pedro Lopes to curate the festivities.


Both nights of the fest will be filled with Fado music, a genre with roots in Portugal. Performances by guitarist Ricardo Rocha and internationally recognized queer Fado duo Fado Bicha, among others, have been recorded specifically for Fall River audiences and will be projected on historic downtown buildings from 8:30 to 11 p.m. both nights.

Attendees can rediscover the city through a series of audio tours designed by choreographer and artist Gustavo Ciríaco. Local guides will take participants on tours of downtown Fall River, along the Quequechan River, and among the historic waterfalls in the city. Six sessions of the walking tour will occur throughout the day on Oct. 17.

A number of visual art installations will debut throughout the city, too. Tracy Silva Barbosa, a multimedia artist from New Bedford, has created a waterfall projection to honor the city’s namesake. The illumination will broadcast on city hall from dawn to dusk on Oct. 16. On the Quequechan River Rail Trail, New York-based collective WeShouldDoItAll has planned an architectural exhibition juxtaposed with nature. Working with students from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, interdisciplinary artist Tracey Cockrell has developed sound installations for the trail as well. Both will be on view starting Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. A group show featuring work by local contemporary artists will inhabit the Merrow Manufacturing building on Oct. 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. and Oct. 17 from 2 to 7 p.m.


Residents can keep their eye out for other projects throughout the city, including original music by saxophonist Chase Ceglie, discoverable only through a unique QR code, and graphic art created by Portuguese lettering and sign painting studio Halfstudio. For more information regarding event times, locations, and pre-registration, visit www.fabricfallriver.com.

Grace Griffin can be reached at grace.griffin@globe.com or on Twitter @GraceMGriffin.

Grace Griffin can be reached at grace.griffin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GraceMGriffin.