COOL Cultural Organization of Lowell

Cool Ideas

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Works-in-Progress unConference
New ideas, projects & initiatives in Lowell

Thanks to everyone who attended and presented ideas!  Check out the suggested ideas and projects below, and feel free to get in touch with the authors to network and help!

 

Formal Examination Process for Dancers - Presented by Linda Sopheap Sou, Angkor Dance Troupe Inc.

About: The mission of the Angkor Dance Troupe is to connect communities through the preservation, education and innovation of Cambodian Performing Arts.

Work-in-Progress: We are working on a formal examination process for dancers in the troupe to move up to the next level. The dancers would perform one or two dances in front of a panel of instructors. This would be the first time a formal process would be put into place and the challenges include putting together a measurement tool or score card that would be fair. They will be tested each spring in a recital and will start the fall in their new level.
 


Open Field Initiative [OFI]  - Presented by Walter Wright, 119 Gallery

About:  119 Gallery promotes contemporary and new media art, innovative ideas and cutting edge techniques with a rich and diverse program of exhibitions, performances and community-based arts services; and welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds and means to explore and experience new, innovative art.

Work-in-Progress:  Open Field Initiative [OFI]: The Open Field Initiative is conceived as a nonprofit support apparatus for non-mainstream and non-commercial music and arts, providing support throughout the New England region, and collectively run by practicing artists who have the skills necessary to run a modern nonprofit. OFI's goals include community building, exhibition and events planning, arts education, and financial support efforts.

 


Support of young local and regional emerging artists - Presented by Walter Wright, 119 Gallery

About:  119 Gallery promotes contemporary and new media art, innovative ideas and cutting edge techniques with a rich and diverse program of exhibitions, performances and community-based arts services; and welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds and means to explore and experience new, innovative art.

Work-in-Progress: Continuing support of the local and regional emerging artists 18-33 who are unable to find work and graduating $20-30K in debt. These are innovative, creative people, the future of art in our community, and they need our support. This has been 119 Gallery's mission for the past 10 years; we need help to continue our work. 

 


UML "Community Arts Program" - Presented by Walter Wright, 119 Gallery

About:  119 Gallery promotes contemporary and new media art, innovative ideas and cutting edge techniques with a rich and diverse program of exhibitions, performances and community-based arts services; and welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds and means to explore and experience new, innovative art.

Work-in-Progress: The establishment of a "Community Arts Program" at UML focused on developing "community" through the arts.


Ongoing arts programming - Presented by Walter Wright, 119 Gallery

About:  119 Gallery promotes contemporary and new media art, innovative ideas and cutting edge techniques with a rich and diverse program of exhibitions, performances and community-based arts services; and welcomes people of all ages, backgrounds and means to explore and experience new, innovative art.

Ongoing programming that brings contemporary, interdisciplinary, and new media art to the community through exhibitions, performances and workshops. 119 Gallery is community oriented and is accessible, it allows all community members interested in contemporary art, new media and performance a chance to see new work and to exhibit and/or perform.
 


Shared Low Cost Office Space - Presented by Kirsten Doherty

Work-in-Progress: I believe Lowell needs a non-profit center that provides below market rate office space, a conference/function area, shared back-office/admin support, and bulk purchasing of office supplies. There are several models out there including ones in which tenants are able to meet their operating needs using in-house resources; for example accounting and legal services, print/copy and design, web design and social media, etc. The goal is to lower operating costs in favor of focusing on the mission and programs and services.
 


Using Videos to Tell Stories - Presented by Gerald Croteau, American Stonecraft

About: American Stonecraft is a Lowell, MA art studio that tells the story of a land that grows rocks, and the farmers who battle them. We do this by making a line of serving wares, slabs, bowls, coasters, made from natural stones gathered at these rocky New England farms. On the underside of each piece we link to a each farm's unique website where we post pictures of farm where we gather stone and the visit to gather them.

Work-in-Progress: Our website right now has tons of beautiful photographs, but we are working on ways to use videos. If a picture tells a thousand words, how much more does a video say? We would like to network with unConference video experts at the successful ways our community uses video to tell stories.
 


Expanding Persona - Presented by Robert Deignan, Manager/Buyer

About: Established in 2008, Persona is Northern New England’s original and premier destination for footwear and apparel, and specializes in offering premium quality products from multiple genres in a contemporary shopping atmosphere. Persona is the heartbeat of today’s fashionista in Northern New England, allowing individuals to have their own personal sense of style. Our newest location, located in downtown Lowell, MA, consists of action sports and streetwear brands. We opened this store to give Lowell its first premium skate driven boutique. This store is very new for us and is growing with new brands and products daily.

Work-in-Progress: Expanding to have a skate shop and creating a better boutique feel in our current location and working on having UML Alum artist George Condo to come out and do an art gallery.
 


"On the road......." art project - Presented by David R. Jones, Artist Member, Brush Art Gallery and Studios
 
Work-in-Progress:  I have almost completed a series of 15 oils on canvas and lines of my impressions of the landscapes as my wife and I drove across country to Portland, Oregon to visit our son in 2012. They are titled "On the road......." and depict dreamscapes in Wyoming, Nebraska, Washington State, Oregon, Northern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.  See examples on my website.
 


"Western" Haikus with a Lowell theme: Presented by Judith Bessette, Brush Gallery

Work-in-Progress: Create "Western" Haikus with a Lowell theme. Haikus consist of three short phrases or sentences. The complete Haiku is composed of two parts; two introductory sentences followed by a third sentence which completes the thought. The third sentence is rather like a punctuation mark in sentence form. Western Haikus are a variation of the traditional Japanese model; Lowell's Jack Kerouac created many Western Haikus.


Lowell Food and Wine Festival - Presented by Tobias Marx, One 27 Global

About: Set in the urban Lucy Larcom Park with mystical Shakespearean Midsummer thematics, we introduce and celebrate the dreams of Lowell community organizations. Live music and performances from local artists coupled with a food and wine festival will make for a magical adventure the whole family can enjoy

Work-in-Progress: We're planning the first ever Lowell Food and Wine Festival to celebrate our amazing community, its culinary diversity, and great nonprofit organizations.


City-Wide Earth Day Parade - Presented by Jenny Murphy, Sullivan Middle School

About: Sullivan Middle School held its first Earth Day parade. Students had made huge (local) animal puppets to carry in the parade. We got the Party Band and several music students to accompany us. We threw candy at the onlookers. Afterwards, information about environmental and outdoor programs were presented on tables, booth style. Face painting and seed planting activities were offered and well attended. Free reusable shopping bags were given out.

Work-in-Progress: My goal is to create a city wide Earth Day parade, beginning with the schools. I would like to expand, adding more schools, more booths, more activities, and get the public involved. This will help Lowell by getting us to focus on the environment through art and provide opportunities for learning about nature, outdoor activities offered by the city, support local musicians and performers, get kids to connect with local animals and birds, and hopefully change behaviors such as littering and encourage environmentally friendly behaviors such as biking, hanging laundry, or getting a home energy audit.


Fresh Beets - Presented by Savannah Marshall

Work-in-Progress: Fresh Beets is a proposed community initiative which combines three essential components of the human experience - food, music, and education - into one vehicle of change. Fresh Beets is a food truck and music venue in one. Food would be sourced locally from surrounding farms and providers, just as the music would be performed by local musicians at both the professional and student level.

People who work on the truck would also be music educators who would provide children in the community with free music lessons, in exchange for their time volunteering for the truck. Both the food and music would be simultaneously shared with the community in a variety of settings, including at UMass Lowell, downtown, in each neighborhood, school yards, skate parks, festivals, parades, and private functions, and on your street.

Fresh Beets has recently won First Place and a $4,000 prize in the UML Idea Challenge in April, and is featured in this month's Howl in Lowell print magazine.


Chaos Bookery - Presented by: Skippy Sund

Work-in-Progress: Chaos Bookery aims to be a used bookstore, coffee shop, event and meeting space. We plan to hold author readings, book signings, run a computer learning lab, and workshops improving literacy and other information gathering skills.

 


Common Ground - Presented by Seth Wilpan

Work-in-Progress: Cooperative healing arts and community cultural center. The center will host practitioners of a wide variety of healing arts, including Yoga, Tai Chi, massage, Ayurveda; and classes, workshops and symposia on subjects related to mind/body/community health. The cooperative would be open to participating in the development of other related cooperative ventures such as a food co-op and an independent movie theater.

 


Lowell Jazz Day Camp - Presented by Stanley Swann

Work-in-Progress: Working to make Lowell a destination city for top of the line Jazz entertainment and education. I have the Stanley Swann Jazz trio at UML ICC every 4th Friday of the month, Lowell Jazz Day Camp every last 2 weeks of July, and am part of the production of the Merrimack Valley Jazz Festival. We first need to get more Lowellians to come out and support Jazz. It will be good for our quality of life and good economically for our community.

 


Greater Lowell Community Foundation - Presented by Susan Winship

Work-in-Progress:  GLCF is focusing some of our grant money to address the issue of substance abuse and youth. We would like a speaker to address this at our Annual Celebrate Giving event in September. We are not particularly interested in having a former abuser speak and are looking for suggestions for a great speaker.

 


Café Mortal - Presented by Irene Egan, Circle Home

About: With our new name, Circle Home, we'd like to sponsor an event that focuses on all the meanings of "home" - an art exhibit that interprets this theme, discussions by and among those who are creating "homes" for people here, what makes Lowell "home" and how we welcome others "home." Looking for partners to brainstorm, create and implement such an event.

Work-in-Progress: "Cafe Mortal" (Death Cafe) - we're looking for a venue, such as a local coffee shop, where we can facilitate discussions on - death. Breaking the stigma of talking about our own mortality, we would offer starter questions to those who come to talk, to listen, to share experiences, to enjoy dessert, and to explore "the big questions" as well as the "practicalities" of the life-ending process. "Cafe Mortal" is a movement happening now in Europe and across cities in the U.S. Groups are held monthly for whomever wants to attend - no charge except for refreshments. We would like to explore whether this would be possible in Lowell.
 


Lowell Women's Week - Presented by Anne Mulvey

Work-in-Progress: The 20th Lowell Women’s Week will be held next March with a city-wide public art project and other arts and culture programming. We hope to engage large numbers of women and girls from diverse groups in these programs. We would like help designing and implementing project. Your ideas and participation are most welcome. Please join us!

 


Ross Family Life Skills Academy - Presented by Tiffaney Ross

Work-in-Progress: Serving foster care youth and young adults ages 12-24, The Ross Family Life Skills Academy aims to provide our leaders of tomorrow with a solid foundation for growth and successful citizenry through college preparatory classes, a nurturing community/family environment, and the teaching of helpful life skills.

 


Planned Perfectly Wedding & Events - Presented by Leslie Cregg-Hyder

Work-in-Progress: Planned Perfectly Wedding & Events is currently planning several events and are looking for event vendors from the Merrimack Valley for the One27 Global Annual Fall Gala (Casino Night Theme) and for an open house at UTEC Lowell. We are also looking for a speaker for the Greater Lowell Community Foundation's Annual Celebrate Giving Ball.


Facility Rental and Catering at UTEC - Presented by Joelle Geisler

Work-in-Progress: UTEC (United Teen Equality Center) is expanding its facility rental and catering business. We'll be having a rental/event focused Open House on June 17 to showcase the space, catering, and several local vendors. We have great ties and recurring business with various community partners, but are looking to get our name out there as an event and wedding venue to more people in the community and beyond.

 

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