‘Howl in Lowell’

What do I think of “Howl in Lowell”…?

Just what the doctor ordered.

A huge push-back from the culture-makers and -consumers in the city who believe that more attention should be paid.

Logical next step, given the vast supply of cultural product in the city, and broad recognition that we have to be more intentional about boosting demand.

A not-to-be-overlooked consequence of the massing of creative people in one place (one cheer for public intellectual Richard Florida, and another cheer for Lowell City Hall leaders who went after the “creative class” and made it City policy, people like John Cox, Armand Mercier, Grady Mulligan, Brian Martin, Bud Caulfield, Eileen Donoghue, Bernie Lynch, Adam Baacke, Colin McNiece, Jim Milinazzo, LZ Nunn, Rita Mercier, Matt Coggins, and others not listed here and to whom I send apologies because you know who you are. And let’s not forget the Lowell Plan Inc.’s sponsorship of the Creative Economy development plan a few years ago. Also, Karl Frey and Justin Mandelbaum of Vespera, who made Western Avenue an arts destination. Plus, the Parker Foundation trustees, who keep saying “yes” when seed grants are in critical need.)

Excited about the prospects for local cultural news in heavy rotation on the web.

When the influential but short-lived “Renovation Journal” published reviews of books by Lowell writers and cultural happenings in the city, I was encouraged to see the arts sector becoming more self-conscious. We cannot wait for a 21st-century Charles Dickens to stop by and write about the Space-Age version of “The Lowell Offering” in the “Next American Notes”—we have to report on ourselves for the world to see. Visiting journalists are always welcomed, like the two from France who were here this winter to do stories about Kerouac for tie-ins to the release of the “On the Road” movie in Europe.

When an ethnic enclave reaches a critical mass, you start to see the special grocery stores and restaurants; when an arts and heritage network expands to a certain size, maybe the ethnic market is a culture magazine.

Good luck to the Howlers. There’s no shortage of content.