If you are in downtown Lowell for the Lowell Folk Festival this weekend, and everyone reading this should be going to the Festival for at least a few hours, then walk to the intersection of Market, Central, and Prescott streets and look for the Printer on Prescott Artists Research Center. UMass Lowell Art Dept. faculty members Jim Jeffers, Stephen Mishol, and Jan Johnson and Art Dept. alumna Denise Manseau have set up a 4000-square foot art space at 82 Prescott Street, the former location of Patriot Printers. Look for the word “Printer” on the building.
The quartet has as its mission “simply to be contemporary artists working in downtown Lowell and participating in the greater creative economy of Lowell as artists.”
Their vision? “We would like to see Printer on Prescott Artists Research Center expand to become a hub for artists and curators by housing a Drawing Arts Research Center, which would bring contemporary artists to Lowell to deposit works on paper in a flat file and digital online archive. This archive would serve as an oscillating point of art, artists, and curators in and out of Lowell, while in some way benefitting the community culturally and economically.”
The artists chose a fine spot in the heart of downtown and the National Park district. Their back door opens onto the Canalway and a view of the canal-side facade of the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center. Their neighbors include Tutto Bene wine and cheese cellar, Daley Designs School of Interiors, Middlesex Community College, and Eastern Bank.
Let’s hope these four are the leading edge of a larger movement of university artists and art department graduates into the downtown, where they will work, live, show, sell, and further energize the cultural community—and that the downtown visual arts scene will be linked more closely to the other creative clusters like Western Avenue Studios via additional signs, shuttle “studio” buses, well-marked bike routes, and other means.