Lowell is the canvas for a summer of art
Smokestack becomes giant movie screen in ARTventures project in Lowell, Mass.
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Projection of experimental video on a four-story smokestack is going to be the primary focus in the kickoff of ARTventures, a new public art and festival summer series launched by a Revolving Museum collaboration with organizations across Lowell, Mass.
“The whole idea is to create a new legacy, a new mission [and] a new kind of acceptance of the city building an arts district,” said Jerry Beck, Revolving Museum director. Beck sees the public spaces that have been neglected as canvases, and public art installations as a way to revitalize a city and empower everyone to use their creativity. He’s been using community art efforts to transform neglected public space for more than 20 years.
The Saturday, May 12, outdoor kickoff takes place in and around the Lowell National Historic Park, 246 Market St. from 7 to 10 p.m. Performance includes a Native American powwow, fire twirlers, Cambodian dance, a Japanese drum group, a UMass-Lowell student performance art piece and the funk and street beat brass band, Revolutionary Snake Ensemble. Public artist Bob Harmon will adapt his light installations to the “dark cavernous spaces” around the old industrial complex. Jay Hungate is creating a 100-foot dragon sculpture with CDs for scales. The celebration also includes ceremonial cutting of a large cake embossed with the city seal. Near the Revolving Museum, a Ferris wheel of sorts made by youth celebrates Lowell’s historic industrial revolution as well as its current “creative revolution.”
About 1,000 people are estimated to participate in the creating ARTventures over the summer, Beck said, mostly youth. That’s important because kids get to see their creation displayed on the street where everyone can see it, which can help them realize what an impact they can have.
“Too often we forget how young people and their own talents and skills can really impact in a profound way a public space,” Beck said.
The next ARTventures installments are scheduled to coincide with existing festivals in Lowell, such as their Kerouac “On the Road” public art scroll May 19. The Lowell Quilt Festival and Southeast Asian Water Festival are others. Most of the installations will not be permanent but could be used again in the summer of 2008 if ARTventures continues.
The festival is supported by several businesses, individuals and organizations, including Lowell Public Schools, Massachusetts Cultural Council, the City of Lowell, Lowell police associations and Lowell General Hospital.
Follow the ARTventures project and schedule at LowellARTventures.org or call (978) 937-2787.