Monday, May 12, 2008

Dirty Smelly Noisy

The old mill complex where I have my studio, Western Avenue Studios, is not in a great part of town. It's not scary, but it's a bit neglected, industrial. That's why it was unused, that's why it is inexpensive, that's why artists have flocked there to fill the buildings with vitality and creativity. There is a part of the complex, the G Mill, that was slated (by the generous building owner) for live/work spaces with giant windows and canal side views.

Real estate in Lowell was not immune from the recent housing bubble, while still less expensive than areas closer to Boston, it managed to get pretty pricey anyway. The live/work spaces were to be an affordable way for artists to get a piece of the latest Lowell renaissance while strengthening our presence at Western Avenue.

But the the Zoning Board of Appeals struck down the building permit! One of the condescending reasons they gave was that the "Western Avenue area is too dirty, smelly and noisy to be conducive to creativity." This confuses us. Everywhere we look we see beauty and potential, we are inspired by this space! Those who rejected the plans misunderstand what artists find valuable.

We are trying to move forward with appeals and make this great idea a reality. In the mean time, instead of feeling helpless and frustrated, we are putting on a month-long exhibit in June. It's called Dirty Smelly Noisy and will highlight the multi media work of local artists and submissions received from artists all across the country! We are determined to highlight what we as artists find beautiful in the rugged Western Avenue area. Should be an exciting and interesting show! Hopefully it points out the silliness of objections to developing an area that would benefit greatly from development, especially in this positive way.

Please check out the exhibits if you are in the area during June! Here's my entry, a photograph I took in the basement of the A Mill. It will be on display outside my studio:


  1. How well you put the case ! And who should know better than you, one of the most creative people on the planet.

    And when I visit you in your beautiful studio, I always feel like working on a drawing.

    I love you, Mom

  2. I am making a bracelet for the exhibit, using parts I found around the building. It's going to be very funky! I can't wait for the exhibit.

    I love your photo!

  3. Ya, who in the world would want a studio space there!? =P

    You know how I love that photo!

  4. Not the City Council . . . the Zoning Board of Appeals! but the rest is pretty much on target!

  5. Thanks all, and especially Anonymous, I made the correction.