Still seeing banners around New Bedford for the now-closed Ruth Carter exhibit? Here's why

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NEW BEDFORD — "And that's the truth, Ruth!"

It's a famous line said by Samuel L. Jackson's character in Spike Lee's 1989 classic "Do The Right Thing."

The quote also was used on banners and promotion material throughout the downtown area to entice guests to visit last year's "Uncommon Threads: The Works of Ruth E. Carter" exhibit at the New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks!

On May 1, 2021, the art museum launched the exclusive exhibition dedicated to the first Black costume designer to win an Oscar for Marvel's "Black Panther."

"And That's the Truth, Ruth!" banner hangs on a light pole on the corner of Purchase and Williams Street.
"And That's the Truth, Ruth!" banner hangs on a light pole on the corner of Purchase and Williams Street.

Carter, who grew up in Springfield, also designed wardrobe for movies such as “Malcom X,” “Do The Right Thing,” “Selma,” and “Dolemite Is My Name.”

Carter visited New Bedford for the museum's annual gala, praising the exhibit and giving it a giant thumbs up.

The exhibit closed on Nov. 14.

However, four months later, "And that's the Truth, Ruth!" ads still remain in multiple areas around the city such as in Custom House Square.

Ruth E. Carter accepts the award for best costume design for "Black Panther" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Ruth E. Carter accepts the award for best costume design for "Black Panther" at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

"The quote has to do with her advocacy for civil rights and just being an advocate for art," said the museum's interim Executive Director and Development Associate Robyn Weisel. "It's nice for the city."

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Although the exhibit is closed, she said there are still virtual resources and activities available on the website dedicated to Carter.

The "members exhibit" is currently on display in the museum's main space.

Who controls the flags and banners?

As for the flags and banners still hanging, Weisel said the museum received a grant in 2021, through the New Bedford Tourism & Marketing Department, to highlight the exhibition in the downtown area.

"I think with COVID, and the way staff both at the city level and internally is affected ... that's probably why they're still up," she said.

"And That's the Truth, Ruth!" poster planted in the middle of Custom House Square in New Bedford.
"And That's the Truth, Ruth!" poster planted in the middle of Custom House Square in New Bedford.

According to Amy DesRosiers, the tourism and marketing manager for the city, removing the banners is on their list of things to do. "We're aware and we will be working on it," she said.

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DesRosiers joined the tourism office in December 2021.

"It's still a learning curve. I'm not sure what things at this point are managed by city or certain organizations."

She said with the upcoming events planned for the city, she wants to start switching out banners, flags and other outdated promotional material soon.

In the meantime, Weisel said it still brings positive attention to the museum and highlights Carter's work.

Standard-Times staff writer Seth Chitwood can be reached at schitwood@s-t.com. Follow him on twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.

This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: Ruth Carter banners still up in New Bedford months after exhibit ended