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Photo of LowellArts exterior sign

Board | Staff | Our Story

bringing audiences and artists together

​Our Vision

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




Sue Clements, Vice-Chair

Julie DeVoe, Treasurer

Gary Eldridge

Rob Freund, Chair

Laurie Kuna

Sharon Oleniczak

Liz Ripley

Mary Tobin, Secretary

Meet the Board of Directors


Sue Clements

Early On Coordinator and Occupational Therapist at Montcalm Area Intermediate School District (retired),  Grand Rapids Modern Quilters Member, LowellArts Music Committee Member

​Julie DeVoe

Jeweler and Owner of Chimera Design - jewelry store in downtown Lowell

​Gary Eldridge

Gary Eldridge has served as a board member for several terms since originally joining LowellArts in the late 1970s. He is a 1974 graduate of the Kendall School of Art & Design and was represented in NYC and Seattle for much of his career. Since retirement, he has continued to work as a freelance illustrator, commercial artist, and fine artist.

Rob Freund

Founding member, writer, and performer for the comedy group Public Domain, LowellArts Theatre Committee Member

Laurie Kuna

High School English Teacher (retired), published Author and Editor, Lowell Area School Board of Education Trustee, 

LowellArts Theatre Actor / Director / Committee Member


Sharon Oleniczak

Designer at Newell Brands Design (retired), Creative Director of West Michigan Graphic Design Archive, LowellArts Gallery Committee Member


Liz Ripley

High School and College Art Teacher (retired), Interior Designer (retired), Fine Artist, LowellArts Gallery Committee Member


Mary Tobin

Graphic Designer, Fiber Artist, Mackinac Arts Council Member, Grand Rapids Modern Quilters Member

Our Mission

LowellArts connects artists and audiences through the visual and performing arts.


Janet Teunis.jpg
Janet Teunis,
Executive Director

Janet Teunis (she/her) has 23 years of experience working in arts management. She joined the LowellArts staff as Project Director in 2013 and was hired as Executive Director in 2023. From 2000-2013, she held positions at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA). Janet has experience in artistic and programmatic leadership, human resources, management of programs and events, management of operations and marketing, and special event planning. Janet has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan School of Art, and is a practicing visual artist.

Photo of Laurel Conrad. She is wearing a black long shirt, has blonde hair cut in a shoulder length bob, and is smiling facing the camera.
Laurel Conrad,
Program Director

Laurel Conrad (she/her) joined the staff at LowellArts in 2021. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from Adrian College. Primarily an actor, some of her performance credits include Agnes in Agnes of God and Older Elizabeth Law in When the Rain Stops Falling. Laurel has received two Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship nominations, one of which she took to compete at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Deb Reynolds.jpg
Deb Reynolds,
Program Assistant

Deb Reynolds (she/her) joined LowellArts in 2023 with over 30 years of marketing experience working in both educational and business settings. In addition to her background in marketing, she has experience in creating and managing a non-profit, recruiting and coordinating volunteers, event planning, and promotions.

Photo of Lorain Smalligan, MACC Minigrant Regrantor
Lorain Smalligan, MACC Minigrant REgrantor

Lorain Smalligan (she/her) held the position of Executive Director at LowellArts from 1999 to 2023. Under Lorain Smalligan's leadership, the organization 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. Lorain will continue to work for LowellArts in her retirement as the MACC Minigrant Regrantor, managing the Regional Regranting Program for 8 counties in West Michigan through the Michigan Arts and Culture Council (MACC).

Artrain's visit to Lowell in 1976 inspired the formation of the Lowell Area Arts Council, later to become LowellArts.

LowellArts has been serving the greater Lowell community since its inception in 1977.

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.

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