About Us

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.


"Our community will be a vibrant hub for the arts, bringing audiences and artists together in quality environments."


Lorain Smalligan

Executive Director

Lorain has led LowellArts for the past 21 years and has worked in arts management and fund development for over 25 years. Under her leadership the organization has tripled in its capacity, and held a successful $1.3 million capital campaign to move to a new state-of-the art facility in the heart of historic downtown Lowell.

She holds post-graduate degrees in arts management from the University of Cincinnati and arts education from Aquinas College. She also has a BFA in sculpture from Calvin College University. Prior to joining LowellArts, Lorain was the Cultural Arts Coordinator at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids and the Fund Development Coordinator at the Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids. Currently she is an advisory board member for Grand River Watershed Arts and Music Festival and a past board member for the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts, Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids, ArtServe Michigan and the Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies. 

Janet Teunis

Project Director

Janet joined LowellArts in 2013 and has over 20 years of experience in arts management, program planning, and marketing.


She graduated in 1998 from the University of Michigan School of Art with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree. In 1999, she held a position at LaFontsee Galleries. In 2000, she joined the staff of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) and worked in various positions over 13 years including Exhibitions Program Manager (2000-2002), Visual and Performing Arts Program Manager (2002-2005), Managing Director (2005-2009). and Director of Operations (2009-2013). Her responsibilities at UICA included: artistic and programmatic leadership, human resources, management of programs and events, management of operations and marketing, and special event planning.


Janet is also a practicing visual artist and her paintings are included in many private and public collections including the Spectrum Heart Center and Mercantile Bank. 

Shelby Biel

Development & Program Administrator

Shelby joined LowellArts in November 2017 and is a Lowell local. She loves working in her community. She has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Central Michigan University. She wears many hats at LowellArts including creating content for and managing social media channels, maintaining relationships with members, scheduling and managing classes, and supporting her team members. In 2019 Shelby completed the 6-month “Rising Leaders” program provided by the MCACA.

Board of Directors

Our welcoming, vibrant organization has been growing since its inception in 1977 and is made up of committed arts enthusiasts.

Gary Eldridge, Chair
Todd Drenth, Vice-Chair
Kyle Bainbridge, Treasurer
Mary Tobin, Secretary

Julie DeVoe
Rob Freund
Dan Kantorowski

Kim Miller

Barb Pierce

Liz Ripley
John Wenger

Ron Wood

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)



LowellArts connects artists and audiences through the visual and performing arts

Our Story

Artrain's visit to Lowell in 1977 inspired the formation of the Lowell Area Arts Council, later to become LowellArts.

Our Story

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. In the coming years, the staff, volunteers, and supporters will continue to make exceptional, heartfelt efforts to bring exciting artwork and performances the community.

223 W Main Street

Lowell, MI 49331



Gallery Hours:

February 13 to April 10

TUES thru FRI  10am-6pm

SAT 12-5pm


LowellArts is accessible to all visitors – whatever their ability. Ramped entrance directly accessible from the handicapped parking area. Automatic door accessibility. Wheelchair accessible restrooms and pathways. Certified Service Animals welcome. Feel free to call in advance of your visit so we can accommodate any special needs.

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LowellArts is supported in part by:

LowellArts is supported by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.