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$60G infusion boosts plans at Mogan Center

By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online. By NANCYE TUTTLE Sun Staff

LOWELL The Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center is making a comeback.

Infused with $60,000 from UMass Lowell and the Lowell National Historical Park, the center has a new coordinator, Mehmed Ali; a new advisory group of park, university and community leaders; new programs; and a new commitment to reaching out to the city's neighborhoods and diverse cultural, ethnic and social groups.

Park and university officials announced the center's rejuvenation and future goals Wednesday.

Plans include reinstating the community-exhibits program that was formerly funded by the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission, until that was disbanded in 1995.

The Mogan Center will also provide cultural, preservation and historic outreach programs that the defunct New England Folklife Center at one time offered.

They include language lessons, lectures, foodways demonstrations and sponsorship of festivals, including the upcoming African Festival on June 15 and the Two Sisters' Native American Pow-Wow on June 22.

"We are reguiding our efforts and reaching out to the community, and the community is reaching back to us. The Park Service is committed to this," said Patrick McCrary, park superintendent.

Paul Marion, representing UMass Lowell Chancellor William Hogan and a member of the center's committee, said the university is dedicated to the revitalized partnership.

"Part of UMass Lowell's mission is to support economic and social development in the region, which this partnership falls under," Marion said. "We will be reaching out to neighborhoods, which is important in the next phase of Lowell's social and cultural development."

Neighbors, friends and the general public are invited to a public forum and open house tomorrow at the center, 40 French St. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., with an ethnic brunch, it will include a presentation of long-range plans for the center, guided tours, a forum and a Feasting on Lowell Southeast Asian foodways demonstration with Kathy Neustadt and Millie Rahn.

The Angkor Dance Troupe, which has its offices and studios in the center, will present a master dance workshop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.