Since LowellArts is about making the arts accessible to all, we work to make sure our arts programs and services match the interests and needs of our community.
Board of Directors
Artrain's visit to Lowell in 1977 inspired the formation of the Lowell Area Arts Council, later to become LowellArts.
LowellArts connects artists and audiences through the visual and performing arts. Our welcoming, vibrant organization has been growing since its inception in 1977 and is made up of committed arts enthusiasts.
The Lowell Area Arts Council (DBA LowellArts) is a vital resource for the greater Lowell community, connecting artists and audiences through the visual and performing arts. For over 40 years, LowellArts has promoted and supported artists through exhibitions, performances, and events. LowellArts continues to be a welcoming, vibrant organization, and serves both as a catalyst for local economic development and a source of valuable art experiences for the community.
LowellArts began with the enthusiasm of community volunteers and funds raised through a visit to Lowell by Artrain USA in November 1976. Originally called Lowell Area Arts Council, the organization was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1977 with initial projects that included community beautification, gallery exhibitions of local and regional artists, and theater productions. In September 1978, LowellArts took over the management of the Fallasburg Fall Festival for the Arts, a two-day outdoor event which had been started by the Lowell Historical Society in 1968.
The space on Hudson Street that served the organization from 1977-2016 was generously made available by King Doyle and the King Milling Company. Located in the front third of one of King Milling's buildings, the space consisted of a 1000 sq. foot gallery, a classroom space, and office space.
In April 2015, LowellArts purchased two adjoining buildings on the corner of Main and Broadway, and launched a $1.25 million "Moving to Main" capital campaign to renovate the space. In November 2016, the organization moved to its current home on 223 W Main Street, which is in a highly visible location, easily accessible, has an abundance of parking space, and is centrally located in the popular Downtown Lowell Historic District.
The new facility, with 4,700 sq. foot of programming space on the first floor, offers twice the gallery space, a flexible performance space, a larger classroom, and an open upstairs space for theater rehearsals and artist-residency programs.
The LowellArts stated purpose is: to encourage the understanding, appreciation, and importance of the arts in the schools and communities we serve, and to provide expression and enjoyment of the arts to all segments of these communities. LowellArts is made up of arts enthusiasts who are committed to the mission of connecting artists and audiences through the visual and performing arts. In the coming years, the staff, volunteers, and supporters will continue to make exceptional, heartfelt efforts to bring exciting artwork and performances the community.
Our welcoming, vibrant organization has been growing since its inception in 1977 and is made up of committed arts enthusiasts.
Gary Eldridge, Chair
Ron Wood, Vice-Chair
Liz Ripley, Treasurer
Mary Tobin, Secretary
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kyle Bainbridge – Ada, MI
Occupation: Financial Center Manager Fifth Third Bank Lowell; Affiliations: Lowell Chamber of Commerce
Julie DeVoe – Lowell, MI
Occupation: Jeweler and Owner of Chimera Design; Affiliations: Lowell Rotary Club, Friends of the Englehardt Library, Flat River Outreach Food Pantry
Todd Drenth – Lowell, MI
Occupation: Non-profit Management – Freelance; Affiliations: Grand Rapids Film Festival, Heart of West Michigan United Way, NEXTGen Board Member, Grand Rapids Young Professionals (GRYP), Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids (YNPNGR)
Gary Eldridge – Lowell, MI
Occupation: Visual Artist and Freelance Graphic Artist, Illustrator & Communications Director for Energy Touch Inc; Affiliations: LowellArts Gallery Committee, Lowell First United Methodist Church, Flat River Gallery and Framing
Rob Freund – Comstock Park, MI
Occupation: Media Assessor at LCS Record Retrieval; Affiliations: LowellArts Players as actor and director, Writer and performer for the comedy trio Public Domain and works with the Frivolous Follies Vaudeville theater group.
Dan Kantorowski – Ada, MI
Occupation: Independent Contractor – Construction; Affiliations: LowellArts Players (set design and construction)
Kim Miller – Lowell, MI
Occupation: Scheduler for Dery Physical Therapy; Affiliations: LowellArts Players (actor, director)
Barb Pierce – Belding, MI
Occupation: High School Counselor and Art Teacher for Lowell High School (retired); Affiliations: Lowell Rotary Club, Lowell Area Schools, Spectrum Health Hospital Guild, Advanced Master Gardener
Liz Ripley – Alto, MI
Occupation: Visual Artist, Interior Designer (retired), High School and College Art Teacher (retired); Affiliations: Advanced Master Gardener/Naturalist/Diagnostician for Plants, Frederik Meijer Gardens, Governing Board at Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal
Mary Tobin – Alto, MI
Occupation: Fiber Artist and Graphic Designer, Creative Director of Mary Tobin Design; Affiliations: Catherine's Health Center Advancement Council, United Way Grand Rapids Schools of Hope Reading Program
John Wenger – Lowell, MI
Occupation: Owner of Clear Sky Technologies, Freelance Sound and Light Technician; Affiliations: Lowell Area Schools, Kent County Youth Fair, Wheatland Music Organization
Ron Wood – Lowell, MI
Occupation: Independent Contractor – Construction & Interior Painting;
Affiliations: First Congregational Church of Lowell, LowellArts Players (actor, director, set design and construction)