Artist Anne Ruthmann on her Facebook page shares her vision for redevelopment of the Smith Baker Center, which is in harmony with preliminary plans laid out by the Lowell Plan, Inc., in its recent creative economy development plan for Lowell, and in the Smith Baker re-use report issued in 2008 by the Mayor’s (Bud Caulfield’s) Task Force on Smith Baker Center. The Cultural Organization of Lowell soon will organize a public forum to hear more about what the community would like to see in the building if and when it is renovated as a community arts center.
Preliminary ideas include a mid-sized performance space (500-700 seats) in the upstairs former church service area for music, film, theater, and lectures/literary readings and a cultural production center on the first floor with media studios, digital arts lab, and offices for small non-profit arts groups and creative economy ventures. As reported in the SUN several months ago, the building could also be home to a permanent exhibition about Jack Kerouac’s life and literature and carry a new name: The Kerouac Center for Creativity. John Sampas, literary executor of the Kerouac Estate in Lowell, has endorsed the concept and offered his full support.
Please watch for an announcement by COOL about the community meeting. The above ideas are preliminary, based on the two planning reports done in the past five years, but COOL is open to everyone’s vision on this ambitious project.
The photos below by Lowell photographer and filmmaker Jim Higgins are copied from Anne Ruthmann’s Facebook posting. Jim has also given COOL permission to use the images to help promote the idea of renovating the Smith Baker Center. Thanks, Anne and Jim.
To read about Anne’s vision for the building and see more photographs by Jim Higgins, please visit Anne Ruthmann’s Facebook page if you are a FB member.