Ron Fortier


February 5, 2023

The Artists Index, and Miles to Go…..

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.



While I’m writing this, the temperature outside is minus 10 degrees. Hunkered down, I was reflecting on how, until very recently, The Artists Index kept it together with pretty much a one-and-three-quarter person staff. I’m the one and Jeff Wotton and his staff audio/video editor Jen Signorella make up the three-quarters portion.

But, as of 2022, thanks to several grants from the Mass Cultural Council’s local agency, the New Bedford Cultural Council, and the Fairhaven Cultural Council, we’ve been able to hire key subcontractors to help us source more artists from the South Coast creative community’s deep trove of talent.

Scott Bishop, has been focusing on Indie musicians and has had some wonderful conversations.  Jeff Angeley, has been focusing on Traditional musicians.  Another local musician from the rock and punk genre, Sean McCarthy, has been busy interviewing a slate of musicians who represent Sean’s rock and Punk passion.

His In-Focus Articles will appear here shortly. These three individuals have faced the same challenges I have for nearly the past decade. Sourcing out the artists, contacting them, asking them to be podcast guests or article subjects, scheduling them, and then actually recording the podcasts or writing the articles can be daunting.

After they record the podcasts, mine included, the episodes are scheduled to be edited and prepared for release. As for the In-Focus Articles, well, this is the first one in a very long time. There just isn’t enough time in the day to do it all. I’m grateful for Sean’s upcoming contributions.

The grants were a huge help. And although not visible to the public at all, local artist and intrepid transcriber, Christine Maiato-Fitzgerald has been toiling away to transcribe the podcasts. Eventually, every podcast will be transcribed and will accompany the podcast recording on its episode page.

Even with technology, the transcriptions must be edited for accuracy to make sure they correctly reflect the conversation. All the podcasts are being digitized and added to the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s database and will be made available to individuals, scholars, researchers, and genealogists in perpetuity, as digital artist/photographer, the co-curator of the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Common Ground Project, and the Museum‘s Director of Digital Engagement, Michael Lapides loves to say. Nearly every In-Focus Podcast has been included in the Museum’s current Common Ground exhibition (January 26 to August 6, 2023)

Just as importantly, we are constantly reaching out to readers, followers, listeners, art industry professionals, and South Coast residents to contact us with information, images, and documentation of their family members, friends, and acquaintances who, during their lifetime, were visual, performing, literary, and culinary artists working in the area.

Another of our many goals for 2023 is to focus on the Cape Verdean community’s contribution to several genres of music. I am really interested in the South Coast’s contemporary jazz musicians and those from the past that contributed to the genre such as Paul Gonsalves. The other goal and genre I‘d like to investigate further is Fado and the current contributions of the South Coast’s Portuguese performers and those such as my mother, Emilia Moraes, and her contemporaries.

The concept of The Artists Index from day one was to document every visual, performing, literary, and culinary artist that we could. A while back, we dropped the emphasis on culinary artists. But, my friend and colleague, Don Wilkinson, suggested we bring it back. There were many from restaurateurs Irving Bookstein, and Anthony Athanas of Anthony’s Pier Three in Boston, to Aime LaFrance, the founder of White’s of Westport, and many more including Emeril Lagasse.

One of the grant-supported positions we are hoping to fill in 2023 is that of an Obituary Researcher. This subcontracted position entails researching obituary databases for South Coast Artists from the past, tracking down the family, friends, and associates, and putting together monographs of their lives. Hopefully, some of the family, friends, and associates That we contact will be willing to have a conversation on one of our episodes.

And last, but not least for 2023, adding a sponsored or grant-supported position is one or several individuals to contribute images, anecdotes, and recollections of the Swain School of Design. This subcontracted position entails researching obituary databases for South Coast Artists from the past,

And now, after well over a decade or more, Jeff Wotton, my friend, co-founder, collaborator, and the Co-founder of the Spectrum Marketing Group in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and I are ready to establish The Artists Index as a non-profit organization.

Since we are self-described as a collective community digital archive, we want also to grow the organization to provide opportunities to others who have a passion for their discipline or genre and who wish to participate in the documentation of the individual contemporary or historic participants in the South Coast’s creative community. These will be grant-supported, subcontracted positions.

So we have come a long way and have a long way to go with our promise to put artists in their place for history! In the meantime, if you would like to be a guest or, have information on a South Coast artist to share, or a suggestion to offer, please let us know!


Fitzcarmel La Mare in our recording studio




Video Ask


The Artists Index is made possible, in part, with the support of Heavenly Spirits, Importers Of Exceptional French Spirits. They invite you to celebrate the art of life and creative communities everywhere.