Big doings this Thursday downtown with the season finale of First Thursdays including arts events and shopping and eating throughout the downtown. The galleries, Hypertext bookstore, restaurants, and shops will have their doors open for the evening.
In connection with these activities is a special one-night lighting display at the Swamp Locks canal complex in the Hamilton Canal District near the junction of Dutton and Thorndike streets. Food trucks, performers, a prototype from the upcoming Kinetic Sculpture Race, and art exhibits and music on the first floor of the 110 Canal Street building (Innovation Hub location) will combine for a festive scene. The nearby City parking lot off Jackson Street will be open to the public at no charge.
Canal lights at Lucy Larcom Park, Feb. 2016; Swamp Locks Gatehouse before the lights!
The wonderful “Lowell Veils” public artwork by Barbara Poole at the Appleton Mills relic wall will be illuminated for the first time. Display lighting and projections will enliven the gatehouse and white water spilling over the dam as well as the lock chambers adjacent. The lighting experience has been designed by Audio East, the same firm that installed the permanent canal lighting system for the Merrimack Canal at Lucy Larcom Park.
A special edition of Lowell Walks led by my colleague Dick Howe Jr. will step off from the National Park Visitor Center at 6 p.m. and route people along the inner loop of the canal system downtown, ending up at the lighting display at Swamp Locks.
The National Park Service will run free canal boat tours at 4.30, 5.30, and 6.30 p.m., and the historic trolley will carry people back and forth from the Mack Building Plaza on Shattuck Street to the canal boat landing. The Canalway path from Market Mills to the Swamp Locks area will be lit and plugged in to an evocative audio track created by artist Walter Wright. This experimental sound installation will pull people along to the canal lighting display.
Thursday is also Welcome Back Night for UMass Lowell students with activities in the downtown and a culminating program at Mill No. 5. Over at Boarding House Park, Weird Al Yankovic will have the packed house rocking and roaring no doubt. And at the Whistler House Museum/Parker Gallery, playwright Jack Neary will introduce his new play, “Moonglow,” in a staged reading that will feature Emmy Award-winner Gordon Clapp of NYPD Blue fame and other notable actors.
Don’t miss the fun. Get inspired. See the crowd. Catch a glimpse of the dynamic lighting that is expected to be a permanent feature throughout the canal system in a few years.