Art & Culture

Snow Fun in the City

Now that the first snow of the season has fallen and the city is covered in a blanket of white, there’s a few ways that you can make the most of the change in weather and enjoy fun times ahead.  From taking walks to sledding, there’s plenty to do in the city after the snow falls.


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Take a Walk on the Waterways:

The city’s waterways can be a great place to enjoy a walk in the snow.  The Lowell National Historical Park’s Waterways give you four distinct trails.  Start with the Heritage Hike and explore the history and culture of the city’s storied “Acre” neighborhood.  Then, walk the Redevelopment Rove where historic mill complexes and canalside spaces are now vibrant neighborhoods.   Next, there’s the Waterpower Walk along which lock chambers, gatehouses, turbine pits and dams celebrate the innovations that changed modern industry.  The longest trail, the Riverwalk Ramble, allows you to take a stroll along the Merrimack River and see the views from the Boott Cotton Mills to LeLacheur Park.  Look at the park’s trail map for more information.


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Enjoy Recreational Activities in the State Forest:

With over 1,000 acres to explore, the Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest is a splendid location to take a hike or do more outdoor recreational activities in the snow.  Through 6 miles of trails, you can enjoy hiking as well as other activities such as trail running, snowmobiling, skiing and more.  There’s plenty of sightseeing to do as well, with views of ponds and wetlands providing a scenic panorama of the regional woodland.  Forest animals from beavers to deer can also make an appearance so the trail is also great for nature photography and can serve as inspiration for artists as well.  To see the full possibilities, the trail map offers more information.


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Go Sledding and Snowshoeing in Neighborhood Parks:

New snow brings fun activities that the whole family can enjoy and neighborhood parks are the perfect places for recreation.  If you’re a fan of sledding or snow tubing, Shedd Park on Rogers Street and the Christian Hill Reservoir are locations to enjoy this fun activity with friends and family.  With over 50 acres, Shedd Park offers plenty of space for such activities and can also serve as a source for other recreational fun such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.  

So, these pastimes can present new traditions to enjoy winter weather and help you discover other recreational opportunities in your local neighborhood parks.


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Other Fun Activities:

Live performances are an entertaining way to enjoy the snow for those looking for other forms of recreation.  Plus, the city’s social scene calls for a night filled with laughter, joy and company.  So if you’re looking for humor, Mondo Monday returns to The Luna Theater on December 18th and The Hearing Room introduces their first ever Amateur Comedy Night on Friday, December 29th.  For more entertainment, there’s also the Acoustic Bluegrass Jam this Friday, December 15th and the Great American Songbook on Sunday, December 17th at The Hearing Room where acoustic instruments and traditional jazz are featured.

Four Festive Ways to Celebrate the Holidays

The holidays are an exciting and joyful way to spend time with family and friends and rejoice on all of the wonders of life.  Whether you’re looking for fun activities or you’re still looking for the perfect holiday gift, there’s much to do in the city this time of year.  Here are four festive ways to celebrate the holidays:


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‘Tis the Season for Holiday Movie Classics!

Watching movies is a great way to enjoy time with family and friends.  Not only can these films bring you joy, they have the ability to bring out the holiday spirit in anyone.

Step out for a night in the city and enjoy Ralphie Parker and his family’s holiday adventures in the 1983 classic A Christmas Story which will be playing at The Luna Theater on Sunday, December 10th.  Clarence gets his wings in It’s a Wonderful Life at the Pollard Memorial Library on December 15th and at The Luna Theater on December 16th.  Don’t get stuck "Home Alone" and catch Chris Columbus’ beloved comedy classic at The Luna Theater on December 24th.


Photo by Meghan Moore

Photo by Meghan Moore

Celebrate with Music and Theater

Traditions such as music and tales about discovering the marvels of the season are great opportunities to enjoy the holidays and make new memories.

Running from now to December 24th, Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s A Christmas Carol is a holiday classic that is bound to bring out the festive in anyone.  There’s more holiday fun for all ages on Saturday, December 9th at the Pollard Memorial Library for Jingle Jam.  Then, experience orchestral entertainment on Saturday, December 9th at the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra Holiday Concert.  If you’re looking for more local orchestras, join the UMass Lowell String Project’s Winter Showcase on Thursday, December 14th.  There’s also the 2017 Holiday Pops Tour, coming to the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Sunday, December 17th, that captures the magic of the holidays with their signature Sleigh Ride and other classic holiday music.


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Deck the Halls with Art and Treasures

The arts can be another great place to look for inspiration.  The various shows and receptions available not only provide you with a look into the local art scene, but also enhance your holiday experience with activities that can become new traditions.

Join Western Avenue Studios (WAS) for their Holiday Open Studios on Saturday and Sunday, December 9th and 10th for endeavors that include browsing art, speaking with artists, and purchasing unique gifts.  The Arts League of Lowell is displaying their Holiday Treasures Members’ Show reception on Saturday, December 9th where special holiday-themed art treasures can be purchased.  Loading Dock Gallery’s show, Winter Lights: Gifts for the Holidays, will run to Sunday, December 31st and features hand-made products from soaps to furniture.  There’s also Ayers Loft Gallery’s Peace on Earth members’ show reception on Saturday, December 9th.  This show, which will run to Thursday, January 4th, is a reminder of the joyful times ahead while shining a light on local artists and their work.


Photo courtesy of The Vintage Witch

Photo courtesy of The Vintage Witch

Walkin' in a Crafty Wonderland

Holiday-themed markets offer creations from local artisans that might change the way you do holiday shopping and prepare for festive times, and can help you find new activities to incorporate into your holiday traditions. 

Unique gifts and art from over 30 local artists are available at WAS’ Handmade Holiday Shopping Night on Thursday, December 14th.  Then there’s The Holiday Oddity Market on Saturday, December 9th at Mill No. 5 where you can find gift options for that someone on your holiday gift list with an eccentric taste.  Do some lunchtime shopping at The Brush Art Gallery and Studios on Friday, December 15th for Soup and Shop and enjoy complimentary soup while browsing through the available art and other creative products.  Then, on Saturday, December 16th, Mill No. 5’s It’s a Wonderful Market has more vendors of vintage, handmade and artisanal goods that are perfect for the holidays.

Looking Back at the Origin of City of Lights

As the annual City of Lights Parade and Celebration approaches, I spent an afternoon at the UMass Lowell Center for Lowell History and looked through Father Armand "Spike" Morissette’s collection of documents from the early days of the City of Lights Parade. What began as a project and symbol of “Faith in Lowell” has now become an honored tradition for the city’s community and the beginning of holiday season festivities.  Below are some of the events’ traditions that began in the 1950s and have evolved into today’s celebration.


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Lighting the City

The City of Lights organizers wanted to demonstrate the vibrancy and joy of the holiday spirit and decided there was no better way to do so than to light up the city with lights.  Lighting of public buildings, monuments, stores and homes was encouraged.  The lights would not only fill the streets with local residents enjoying the brilliant display, but also bring people from neighboring communities to experience the beauty of a city glowing in light.   After a hiatus and a decline in the number of lighting displays, the City of Lights theme was resurrected in the late 1980s/early 1990s through a partnership between the city and private businesses.  Some 50,000 new lights and unique decorations were installed.  A holiday stroll grew into a holiday parade.  Nowadays, the tradition continues with an estimated 60,000 lights that bring the holidays to life and serve as the official start of the holiday season for many.  The City of Lights program from the 1952-1953 season began this honored tradition, one that is as popular as ever six decades later.


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Music and Poetry

With holiday singalongs, caroling, concerts, movies and more fun entertainment in the City of Lights Parade this year, it’s no secret that the community loves to be entertained.  The origin of the City of Lights shows that this tradition goes back to the 1950s when music and poetry defined the entertainment of the Parade at the time. Songs like “Lights On In Lowell Town” written about the City of Lights by Paul Bordeleau and Henry Fournier were the embodiment of bringing the holidays alive in the community. Poems were the other big form of entertainment, with a poem called “Christmas Lights” being printed on the back of the City of Lights 1952-53 program book.  Other poems were included in the actual event, with local poets being chosen to have their poem become the “Official City of Lights Poem” every year.


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Contests and Activities

Nowadays, the Parade includes a multitude of activities such as the Festival of Wreaths, Photos with Santa, Strolling Carolers through Downtown and more. In the 1950s, many of the activities revolved around garnering participation for the City of Lights project. Contests helped do this, especially when it came to decorating. Home decoration contests allowed the community to get involved in the celebration and to show how festive they were in decorating their home. These contests had first, second and third place plaques that were awarded. Today, downtown stores compete in a window decorating contest and eateries compete in the Hot Chocolate Competition.  It’s delightful to see how the activities have grown through the years and how the spirit of the early City of Lights program continues today and displays Lowell’s love for holiday festivities.

Fall Activities and Fun Things to Do in Lowell

By Yanicel Martinez - Already mid-fall, a great time to get creative, take in some great entertainment and prepare for the upcoming holidays. Below are some ideas to enjoy November.


Crafts

Get your creative juices flowing with arts and crafts and workshops.

Arts and crafts workshops are a great way to get creative.  Check out the Fall into Fun Crafternoon on Friday, November 17th and the Make & Take Craft on Wednesday, November 15th at the Pollard Memorial Library and the Arts and Crafts Night with Anabelle on Thursday, November 16th at Coffee and Cotton. can present you opportunities to exchange ideas, learn new skills and above all, socialize! Visit Western Avenue Monthly Open Studios on Saturday, November 4 where you can meet the artists and learn all about their work.


Photo Courtesy of the Moscow Ballet

Photo Courtesy of the Moscow Ballet

Treat yourself to some quality entertainment.

Fall brings a whole host of new events to look forward to. For example, attend Balefire Productions' staging of "Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet" at Gallery Z from Thursday, November 16th to Sunday, November 19th, a dinner/theater experience. Community concerts are another way to spend time with friends and family. Events such as the Lowell Philharmonic Orchestra Family Concert on Saturday, November 11th at the Lowell Catholic High School. And don't miss the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on November 28, a favorite holiday tradition. 


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New and classic movies sure to entertain.

Watching a film is a great way to enjoy a fall afternoon or evening with friends and family. Love hummus? Screening at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center on Tuesday, November 14, HUMMUS! The Movie. The Luna Theater has a variety of movie options starting with The Witches playing on Sunday, November 12 followed by Loving Vincent on Friday, November 17 and Matilda on Sunday, November 19. The Pollard Memorial Library also has its own movie night with Blush on Thursday, November 9th.


Holidays

Get into the spirit of giving by shopping early for the holidays

Shopping for the holidays has already begun! It can be exhilarating or stressful, but in the end you can enjoy it and feel excited as the holidays approach. Check out Lowell's many galleries, specialty shops and markets for old school shopping where you can see and handle the merchandise - New England Quilt Museum, Brush Art Gallery and Studios, Western Avenue Studios, For flexibility and the foodie on your list go for a gift certificate at any of Lowell's great restaurants. Community events such as the Friends of the Pollard Memorial Library Children's Shopping Day on Saturday, November 25th at the Pollard Memorial Library is a great way to shop at a reasonable price.


October - Literature, Art, Science and Cultural Happenings

This month the spirit of Halloween festivities radiates through the air and various historical observations start coming to our attention. Culture also courses through the city as anniversaries and receptions celebrate the arts and the community.  Enjoy events highlighting history and celebrating arts and culture in October. Here's a sample of the events you can find on our calendar!


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Reception for Vast! Mad! Striving! Exhibit

This exhibit, part of Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival, opens on October 6th from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lowell Telecommunications Corporation. It presents the work of artists in various media through the perspective of Jack Kerouac. Attendees will experience Lowell as it is today while embodying the soul of the city. Live music, poetry, art and refreshments will also be offered.


Photo by John Suiter

Photo by John Suiter

Ghosts of the Pawtucketville Night Kerouac Tour

Part of Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival, on October 8th, take an evening walk led by Roger Brunelle through the streets of the Pawtucketville neighborhood where Jack Kerouac spent his adolescence. The walk begins at 6 p.m. at Cumnock Hall in UML’s North Campus. Participate in readings from Kerouac’s talk-writings at the cottages and tenements where he lived and attended school. For the end of the tour, walk to Ste Jeanne d’Arc Church where Kerouac saw a vision of the BEAT-ific Generation.


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EVOLUTION Artist Reception

Sophy Tuttle’s evolution work will be showcased on October 14th from 7 to 9 p.m. at Gallery Z.  Tuttle is a fine artist, illustrator and muralist based in Boston. Join her in sharing her experiences and love for the natural world at this reception. Enjoy light refreshments and the beer and wine cash bar as view her work.

For more information, visit Gallery Z’s Facebook.


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Lowell Reads: Harvard Observatory Photographic Plates Presentation

Join staff from the Harvard College Observatory as they talk about their experience with photographic plates on October 21st at 1 p.m. at the Pollard Memorial Library. Listen to the staff recount their digitization and transcription project with the Smithsonian. Attendees will receive a special discount code for tickets to the Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s production of Silent Sky.

More information available here.


Photo courtesy of the African Community Center of Lowell

Photo courtesy of the African Community Center of Lowell

African Community Center of Lowell – 1st Anniversary Celebration

Celebrate the accomplishments of the African Community Center of Lowell’s first year of operation with the Anniversary Celebration on October 29th from 3 to 6 p.m. at Eliot Church. Experience African and American cuisine and enjoy non-alcoholic beverages. Listen to guest speaker Sarah Dryden-Peterson’s talk and learn more about the African community and culture.


The Art Takeover: A Month of Creativity and Play in Lowell!

Creativity will take center stage this month as local artists and a diverse range of organizations and businesses join together to support the city's art scene with exciting community events. Gather with friends and come experience Lowell with new eyes - explore the city, meet local artists and connect with Lowell's creative community.


Photo by David Winthrop

Photo by David Winthrop

Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race

After last year's successful turnout, the Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race is back this year on September 23. Billed as "a spectacular racing spectacle", the event pits human-powered art sculptures against one another in a race through city streets, over a mud pit and across the Merrimack River. Artists, builders and do-it-yourselfers will bring their one-of-a-kind creation to race for victory. LKSR is the only race of this kind in New England, and not only expands the artistic diversity of Lowell, but reinforces it as a hub of innovation. 


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Creaticity: Lowell Art & Maker Festival

Creaticity: Lowell Art & Maker Festival is a brand new two-day event intersecting art, design, music, performance and public space. The free event will feature the work of over 50 local artists and makers and will highlight the character of the historic buildings on Market Street in downtown Lowell. Come and discover local art and entertainment from Lowell and beyond!


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A Little Bazaar at Mill No. 5

After a summer break A Little Bazaar returns to Mill No. 5 on September 2. This year they'll be expanding the marketplace to every Saturday of the month! 
If you like handmade, kooky and unique items, this place is for you. It's the kind of stuff you don't find in malls or big box stores. Visitors are invited to spend the day walking around the former textile mill and make exciting and fun discoveries at every turn.
 


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The Royale at MRT

If you're in the mood for the theatre, then don't miss the chance to see the new power-packed, award winning boxing drama "The Royale" at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT). The 90-minute show is inspired by the life of Jack Johnson, the first black man to fight for the title of World Heavyweight Champion. The 2013 play by Marco Ramirez has received acclaims nationwide, including the Off-Broadway run at Lincoln Center that landed Obie, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards.

More information is at www.mrt.org/Royale
 


Take a Walk on the Wild Side

As the third largest city in Massachusetts, visitors and residents alike are drawn to Lowell for good food, abundant culture, and year-round festivals and events.  A hive for outdoorsy folk that have a soft spot for the arts and culinary exploits; Lowell is quickly becoming a favorite weekend getaway for everyone.  We invite you to take a walk on the wild side with us and discover all that's to like about Lowell.


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Arts & Culture

Art lovers will find true beauty in the wild side of Lowell's art scene. From ever changing exhibits in art galleries like Uncharted or the Arts League of Lowell, one of the largest artist communities in the country at Western Avenue Studios placed in an old mill, there's a lot to like about art in Lowell. A well curated (and ever growing) Public Art collection that's accessible to everyone and plenty of galleries, make Lowell a perfect weekend [art] exploration.
For more about Art & Culture click here!


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Events & Happenings

What do you [not] do in a city that has over 2,000 events every year? It sure gets wild when artists like Sun Ra Arkestra take the stage at the largest free folk festival in the country every July, or when neighbors unite for their summer neighborhood block parties. There really is an event for everyone in Lowell. Some even refer to us as Festival City #1!
Click here for more info on events in Lowell or here for our event calendar!


Food & Drink

So you love food? We do too! Lowell is home to over 200 restaurants. From super casual to super fine dining, Lowell has that amazing selection of authentic ethnic foods that will make you want to come back every day to try a different place! 
For a directory of restaurants in Lowell please click here!


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Outdoor Fun

The "dog days of summer" are above us and there are plenty of things to explore that are part of Lowell's wild side. From Kayak and SUP rentals at the Bellegarde Boathouse to over 4 miles of beautiful river and canal walks waiting to be explored! Make it your family challenge to visit and experience one, or all, of the over 80 public parks Lowell has to offer.

Six Things to Do in Lowell That Your Kids Will Love

By Allison Lamey - Lowell’s rich history, compact size, and diverse mix of festivals and events make it a great city to explore with kids. I asked my kids (three boys aged 9, 6, and 2) what they like to do most in Lowell. Here are some of their favorites.

1. Music, Art, Theatre, Oh My! 

There’s no better place to cultivate an appreciation for the arts in your kids than in Lowell.
The Cultural Organization of Lowell maintains a calendar of exhibits and events that are sure to please kids of any age.  Some of our favorites include the Lowell Summer Music Series free concerts at Boarding House Park and the many community events organized by Made in Lowell.  For the budding artist in your home, many galleries in Lowell offer youth classes and you can watch artists at work during first Saturday of each month at Western Avenue Studios.  My six year old is particularly fond of the glass blowing demonstrations at Mill City Glassworks!  

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2. Free Movies

Our go to spot on a rainy afternoon is the Magical Mystery Movie Club at the Luna Theatre in Mill No. 5.  Every Sunday at 11:30 a.m. they show free movies, rated G or PG, that are unannounced until the start of the show – hence the “mystery”!  House lights are kept a bit brighter than normal and you’re free to come and go so there’s no pressure to keep active kiddos confined to a seat for 90 minutes.  As an added bonus the seats are so comfortable your little one (or you) may get in an unexpected nap.  

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3. Trolleys

Trains are a big favorite in my house so the National Park Service trolley rides are a go to activity for us.  They offer free rides between the Visitors’ Center and the Boott Mills Museum throughout the day.  For a longer, more educational experience NPS offers several guided tours, for a small fee, that delve into the history of the canals and mills that shaped Lowell.  When you’re done your little ones can make believe they’re a trolley conductor on the child-size replica at Mack Plaza.  

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4. Picnics on the Waterfront

Lowell offers several great spots to lay down a blanket and picnic along the Merrimack River.  Our favorite spots include the Vandenberg Esplanade along the VFW Highway, Sheehy Park on Pawtucket St. near UMass Lowell South Campus, and the Riverwalk behind the Tsongas Arena.  All three locations have walking paths that are stroller, bike, and pet friendly.  The Esplanade and Sheehy Park are also a great spot to watch rowers and kayakers.  

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5. The Lowell Spinners 

Lowell proudly boasts its minor league baseball team, the Lowell Spinners, and it affiliation with the Boston Red Sox.  The stadium offers great views from any seat, fun entertainment between innings, and a kids’ play area if your little ones get restless.  The affordable prices mean you can bring the whole family and still have money for peanuts and cracker jacks. 

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6. Eat!

Lowell’s growing reputation as a cultural food hub means there’s something to please everyone no matter how sophisticated their taste buds may be.  Lowell has a great variety of restaurants offering classic American cuisine and ethnic dishes representative of Lowell’s diverse population. While we have our favorites in every neighborhood our kids love to eat downtown where they can people watch until their meals arrive.  You can check out the great variety of restaurants here.  My nine year old wants to make sure I also mention that after dinner you can pick up a yummy treat from one of several downtown shops including Sweet Journey, Little Delight’s Bakery, or Sweet Lydia’s. Dessert is healthy for you when it’s made local, right?  

Take a Walk on the Art Side

The Lowell Folk Festival is all about traditional music, ethnic food and culture - lots of culture and art! If you come for the festival, there are plenty of galleries and museums to visit and plenty of artistic inspiration to be found in neighborhoods across the city. We invite you to explore your surroundings and enjoy Lowell's creative scene while taking in the sights and sounds of this incredibly diverse music festival.

Decatur Way - Photo Courtesy of Liz LaManche

Decatur Way - Photo Courtesy of Liz LaManche

1.  Lowell Public Art Walk

Outdoor art is all around in Lowell! Whether you're walking downtown or exploring our neighborhoods, you're sure to see a variety of original works that reflect the city's history, ethnic heritage and contemporary life. Our self-guided tour encourages residents and visitors to chart their own course and discover the public sculptures, murals, memorials and historic monuments that make Lowell unique. Visit Lowell Public Art Walk to learn more and discover local treasures near you.

Photo Courtesy of the Lowell Folk Festival_Higgins _ Ross

Photo Courtesy of the Lowell Folk Festival_Higgins _ Ross

2. Art in the Courtyard

Under the tents in the shaded, brick-lined courtyard between the National Historical Park and the Brush gallery, you will find Art in the Courtyard, a high-traffic  spot featuring some of the finest art and craft work by local artists. This venue provides an opportunity for visitors to meet the artists and learn about the  techniques and processes that go into creating their works. Art in the Courtyard is coordinated by the Brush Art Gallery and is one of the best
places  to view and purchase art and fine crafts at the Lowell Folk Festival.

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3. Pop Up Art Show

If you're looking for a respite from the over-stimulation of the festival then head over to the Arts League of Lowell and check out the work of their talented artists in a special pop up show of small works especially chosen for the Folk Festival weekend. Works are no larger than 12 x 12 inches or smaller and all priced at $100 or below. This is your chance to find something lovely and unique from Lowell!

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4. Threads of Resistance

Located in downtown Lowell, The New England Quilt Museum is the only institute in the Northeast solely dedicated to the art of quilting and the second-oldest quilt museum in the United States. Their new exhibit titled "Threads of Resistance", on view now through September 9, 2017, proves that the art of quilt-making is alive and kicking. This national exhibition, organized by the Artist's Circle, features 64 juried works of fiber art, contemporary quilts, and art quilts designed to express a range of emotions from anger and sadness to hope and empowerment. Inspired by the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter".

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5. Discover other Galleries and Museums

There's plenty of art to see elsewhere: Stop by  UnchARTed Gallery  and check out the abstract map prints by the artist Jennifer Carland of Carland Cartography! Also check out these other exhibits:  Gallery Z   - Reflections II, thru July 30 -  Ayer Lofts Art Gallery  - Lowell Loves Art, thru July 30 -  Loading Dock Gallery  - The Cultural ARTbeat, thru July 30 -  LTC Gallery  - Opening August 3: Japan: Tradition and Inspiration, thru August 31 -   Whistler House Museum of Art  - Opening August 5: Contemporary Art Quilts 2017, thru September 1.
 

Destination Lowell - A Showcase of Lowell's Best

The 31st annual Lowell Folk Festival will bring the best of traditional music, food and crafts for all to enjoy.  This year’s Destination Lowell will offer visitors a more engaging, interactive experience by transforming Merrimack Street into hubs of activity, entertainment, outdoor sports and local vendors. We hope that festival visitors will soon discover why There's a Lot to Like about Lowell! Here are some things to look forward to.

1.  Art, Culture and Heritage

Located at the entrance of Destination Lowell between Shattuck Street and Palmer Street, the Art, Culture and Heritage area will feature a dozen local organizations offering information, giveaways and more!  Lowell Celebrates Kerouac, Western Avenue Studios and Merrimack Repertory Theater are some of this year’s participants.  Come experience Lowell’s rich and vibrant cultural scene!

2. Outdoor Fun, Sports and Recreation

As you walk further down Merrimack Street, you will see Destination Lowell’s first of three activation areas.  This area creates the perfect setting for outdoor recreation and sports organizations to promote themselves, while engaging attendees through interactive activities involving crafts, games, music, sports and fitness.  For those who love competition, this is the hub for you! Destination Lowell will provide giant outdoor games such as cornhole, checkers and jenga for all ages to enjoy while listening to some beautiful folk music in Downtown Lowell’s historic setting. 

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3. Events and Happenings

Once you’ve experienced the fun and entertaining activities at the recreation area, continue strolling down Merrimack Street to the next area that Destination Lowell has set up for you.  There are plenty of things to do at the events and happenings hub, located between Kirk and John Street. This area creates spaces for local companies like Made in Lowell, DIY Lowell, Lowell Kinetic Sculpture Race and the Puerto Rican Festival to promote upcoming events and provide information on ways to get involved. 

Derek Soohoo Pottery

Derek Soohoo Pottery

4. Lifestyle

The last area is the lifestyle hub.  This area will serve as a great way for participants to stay relax and unwind as Destination Lowell partners with Mill No. 5 to promote a healthy lifestyle. The Red Apothecary and Derek’s SooHoo Pottery are some of the local businesses that will have exhibits and demonstrations for all to enjoy!

 

Come check what this year’s Destination Lowell has to offer and experience for yourself why people believe Lowell is the number one festival city, as it continues to host the largest free folk festival in the United States! The Lowell Folk Festival seeks to present the finest traditional music, dance, crafts, ethnic food and cultural treasures that make up Lowell’s diverse community.   This is a free event.  For more information visit: http://lowellfolkfestival.org/

The Mill Yard: Lowell's New Outdoor Hotspot

Looking for the perfect way to celebrate the end of a long week?  Well, we have just the event that will get you outdoors and keep you entertained for hours!  Friday Nights is returning to The Mill Yard with delicious food, beautiful art, music and a beer garden for all to enjoy. 

1. Friday Nights and The Mill Yard Grand Opening

While Friday Nights, sponsored by Made in Lowell, has been an ongoing event, this week’s festivity is going to be something you will not want to miss!  With food trucks, local vendors and live entertainment, it’s the perfect setting for family and friends to enjoy this social event at a beautiful venue surrounded by mills and canal ways.  Friday Nights begins at 5 pm, with the grand opening of The Mill Yard starting at 6.

In addition to Made in Lowell’s monthly Friday Nights celebrations The Mill Yard venue will serve as a prime outdoor location aimed at enhancing community engagement, offer space for entertainment, showcase local musicians and expand the city’s collaboration with food trucks.

The Mill Yard will provide the perfect setting for families, friends and foot-truck aficionados and will be available to host a variety of artisan markets and private functions.  Come celebrate Lowell’s first ever community food truck park at the grand opening event tonight at 6 pm!

2. Art is in the Air

If you want a break from all the excitement at The Mill Yard, there is a lot to do in the surrounding area that will keep you entertained.  The Mill Yard’s location is within sight of some cool public art.   “Veils of Color,” created by artist Barbara Poole, fills the windows of a former mill wall with brightly dyed panels of fabric representing the dyes that used to be dumped in the canal when the Appleton Mills Dye House was operating.  Nearby a pop up art park has been created from concrete blocks and jersey barriers, part of the City’s effort’s to creatively transform construction and security materials.  When not being used for Folk Festival and other street closing security, they will be on display in the park, located across the Lower Pawtucket Canal in the Hamilton Canal District.

3. Mill NO. 5 and its many amenities just a footstep away

Photo: millno5.com

Photo: millno5.com

The fantastic thing about The Mill Yard is its centrally located right across the street from Lowell’s vibrant Mill No. 5.  The quaint shops and weekly farm market in this renovated mill building are open all week long.  Mill No. 5’s Luna Theater is always showcasing films and shows, with an upcoming comedy movie Band Aid this Friday night starting at 7:35pm.  By expanding the use of The Mill Yard and making it an urban oasis for current and future district residents and businesses, local shops will be busier than ever! 

4. The Breathtaking Western Avenue Studios

If you’re an art lover looking for something to do after grabbing a bite at Lowell’s new food truck park at The Mill Yard, the Western Avenue Studios located just around the corner is where art comes alive.  The space has over 300 artists and 250 studio spaces for local artists and provides exquisite art for the public to see.  The Western Avenue Studio is home to the largest artist’s community on the eastern seaboard of the U.S.  The studio has art classes and art exhibits year round.  The current Gallery show is The Cultural Artbeat which runs through July 30th. 

 

ART CREATED FROM CONCRETE AND METAL

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[LOWELL, MA] - When the Lowell Folk Festival returns to downtown Lowell July 28-30th, visitors will enter festival areas past security blocks and barriers that have been transformed into works of art. The Cultural Affairs and Special Events Office (CASE) has teamed up with local artists to create public art from chunks of concrete as a creative approach to brighten the entries to the festival. 

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Eighteen security blocks are being painted by artists Mary Hart, Alexandra Derderian and Ioana Singureanu. CASE provided funding for stipends and materials.

“With the City of Lowell owing much of its multi-cultural heritage to its immigrants, each pattern I selected is meant to honor individual immigrant groups without being too specific about the inspiration,” said artist Ioana Singureanu. “I'm happy to participate in this project and I hope other cities follow Lowell's example of creative integration of safety and art.” 

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In addition to the concrete cubes, twelve jersey barriers will be painted by artist Bret Weese. 

“When you give the public something to look at, the way they interact with each other changes, making the community stronger,” said Weese. “If my work is to be defined, I would say it is inspired by the graffuturism movement, which is a more modern and contemporary fusing of abstract expressionism and graffiti.”  

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“We are delighted to engage our local artists to create works of art out of basic construction blocks and in so doing, change perceptions about our safety measures,” said City Manager Kevin Murphy. “We look forward to continuing this program and to using these blocks to create a temporary art park when they are not in use for events.”

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In addition, a metal storage container, placed in The Mill Yard in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District, will receive an artistic treatment.  The painted container will be used for events equipment storage for Mill Yard events such as Friday Nights, enhancing the area and serving as another piece of public art.

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About the Movie Being Shot in Lowell This Week...

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Production crews descended on the city this week to film scenes for Screen Gems' action thriller "Proud Mary", starring Taraji P. Henson with Billy Brown, Jahi Di'Allo Winston, Neal McDonough, Margaret Avery, Xander Berkeley and Danny Glover. 

If you've spotted several dozen people gathered around equipment on a sidewalk on Central Street and were wondering, the answer is yes, actress Taraji P. Henson is in Lowell. A Golden Globe winner for her role as Cookie Lyon in Fox's "Empire", Henson will play a contract killer whose maternal instinct is awakened when she meets a young boy. Directed by Babak Najafi, the film is set for release in January 2018.

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Filming for the movie, which started yesterday, will continue over the next week at various locations in downtown Lowell and sightings are due to become increasingly common. The most recent one took place Thursday morning while the cast and crew were working smack in the middle of downtown Lowell in front of WCAP studios on Central Street. 

By noontime, a few onlookers were hanging out on site, hoping to get a glimpse of the star, while equipment and police detail officers lined the street.  

Exterior shooting is scheduled for May 16 on Palmer Street between Middle and Merrimack Streets.  This block will be closed to traffic but Middle will remain open as will Palmer from Market to Middle. CASE staff have been coordinating shooting schedules, traffic control, logistical support and street closures with location managers.

Several movie production trailers were setting up on a city lot in the Hamilton Canal District across from 110 Canal Street in preparation for the cast and crew. Lowell's unique sites and neighborhoods make the city a popular place for film production. There has been a number of notable films shot in the city including 'The Fighter', 'The Invention of Lying', and more recently 'Professor Marston & The Wonder Women'.

Hollywood Returns to Lowell

Actress Taraji P. Henson (photo thanks to Wikipedia user Bill Ingalls/NASA, some rights reserved).

Actress Taraji P. Henson (photo thanks to Wikipedia user Bill Ingalls/NASA, some rights reserved).

By Henri Marchand on May 3, 2017 - Hollywood returns to Lowell for five days of feature film production beginning Thursday, May 11.  Screen Gems Productions will be in town at several locations filming scenes for 'Proud Mary', starring Taraji P. Henson, Neal McDonough and Xander Berkeley.

A Golden Globe winner for her role as Cookie Lyon in Fox’s “Empire”, Henson plays a contract killer whose maternal instinct is awakened when she meets a young boy.

The production will shoot scenes May 11-15 in the WCAP studios on Central Street.  The right lane will be blocked during filming but Lowell Police will provide traffic control.

Exterior shooting is scheduled for May 16 on Palmer Street between Middle and Merrimack Streets.  This block will be closed to traffic but Middle will remain open as will Palmer from Market to Middle.  Police will also be on hand to provide support.

Location managers have been working with downtown businesses and the City to coordinate shooting schedules, traffic control, logistical support and street closures.

Release date is scheduled for January 26, 2018 according to IMDb.com.

Other feature films shot in Lowell include 'The Fighter', 'The Invention of Lying', and 'Professor Marston & The Wonder Women'.
 

Let's Talk About our "Sister" and Food!

Like Lowell, There's a Lot ALike about Saint-Dié-des-Vosges

Lowell's sister city since 1989, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges is located in the northeastern corner of France.  Like Lowell the town is bisected by a river, the Meurthe, and has a rich history. Although much older, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges has a lot in common with its younger sister.

Image Credit: https://transvosges.com

Image Credit: https://transvosges.com

Created between the 12th and 13th centuries, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges has seen its share of challenges including wars, fires and economic decline but has always bounced back and rebuilt itself over the years, indeed centuries.  Saint-Dié, like Lowell, was an industrial center in the 19th century and its economic history includes textile manufacturing along with metalwork, machinery and the manufacture of hosiery.  Today it's a center of services, education and tourism.  The Institut universitaire de techologie provides programs in robotics, electronics, computing and graphic design.
 
Historical landmarks include a Gothic cloister and medieval and Renaissance cathedrals including one built of pink sandstone.  Other landmarks are the Claude and Duval factory, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by famed architect, Le Corbusier; and the Tower of Liberty, originally built to celebrate the bicentennial of the French Revolution that now serves as an exhibition hall and museum.  Other museums, cultural events and public markets, including a Christmas Market and parade of St. Nicholas, beckon residents and visitors alike.
 
Like Lowell, Saint-Dié-des-Vosges has a diverse menu of restaurants-Asian, Indian, Italian, Turkish, Middle Eastern, Vegetarian and, of course, French.

Click here for more information on Lowell's older "sister".


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The World On Your Tastebuds.
 

When it comes to international cuisine, Lowell is also home to a whole variety of restaurants and eateries. The city has local favorites, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, sophisticated dining and so much more. Each neighborhood features eateries with flavors that reflect the city's diverse culture.

Here you can find Asian, Mexican, Latin, Mediterranean, Egyptian, Greek, Italian, African, Portuguese, Caribbean and classic American food. This is in addition to many food trucks, diners, donut shops and bakeries. Lowell is a city with a growing coffee culture and our coffee shops and cafés are definitely places to go for a delicious roast. 

Our new dining directory allows for easy exploration of Lowell's food culture. Search either by food type or by neighborhood. A restaurant's phone number, address, website and a brief summary of their menu is included. 

Please keep in mind that the directory is continuously updated. If there is an eatery not included in our directory, please let us know! You can discover Lowell's restaurants here.

Even More Reasons Why Lowell is Heaven for Creatives

Art entrepreneurs create opportunities, jobs, culture, products and services that help drive our economy. With over 600 artists and makers residing in Lowell, the city has a great infrastructure that provides invaluable support to the creative community. (Read the first part of the article here).
 

1. Creative Resources

Over the last 10 years the Lowell Cultural Council Program (LCC) has supported hundreds of community-based projects in the arts, humanities and sciences annually allocating funding within the Lowell community on behalf of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. These funds provide economic support for community events that reach residents of all ages. This year alone the LCC funded 42 projects for a total of $61,645.

Pictured above is Barbara Poole's 'Veils of Color', a public art project funded by the LCC.

Pictured above is Barbara Poole's 'Veils of Color', a public art project funded by the LCC.

2. DIY Community

The spirit of do-it-yourself is alive and well in the city. Organizations like DIY Lowell, a citizen-led initiative that connects and empowers Lowellians, are essential to creating positive change. Residents can submit ideas and implement small-scale community projects to enhance the quality of life in the city's neighborhoods.

For PARK(ing) Day Lowell, DIY Lowell and the National Historical Park transformed three metered parking spaces on Merrimack Street into a pop-up park for the day.

For PARK(ing) Day Lowell, DIY Lowell and the National Historical Park transformed three metered parking spaces on Merrimack Street into a pop-up park for the day.

3. Cultural Partnerships

The Cultural Organization of Lowell provides information, advocacy and services to individuals, organizations, institutions and agencies involved with the local creative economy. Commonly known by the acronym "COOL" this nonprofit plays a key role in the city helping to strengthen the vitality and economic growth of arts and culture in Lowell. 

4. Makers Culture

As the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, Lowell continues to attract makers and innovators. Organizations like Lowell Makes are succeeding in efforts to bring together local artists, engineers, makers and thinkers to provide the tools and learning resources where individuals can gain and practice modern skills with a community of creative-minded people making all kinds of things.

5. Inspired Innovation

The first of its kind in Massachusetts, New Vestures is a fashion and textiles co-working makerspace. Founded in 2012 by artist, designer & educator, Diana Coluntino, New Vestures aims to support a community of fashion designers, entrepreneurs and innovators who believe that creative, sustainable apparel, textile design and manufacturing practices will improve lives and better the world. 


For more information on these organizations and more public arts attractions in Lowell, please visit likelowell.com.