Over the past decades Lowell has transformed itself from a mill city to an up-and-coming creative hub. Fueling this change are the artists, musicians and writers flocking to the city’s growing arts scene.
To celebrate the creativity of Lowell’s artists — especially those early in their careers — the Cultural Organization of Lowell
(COOL) commissioned a local press to publish an anthology of creative work by artists under the age of 40 with strong ties to the city. More than a quarter of the more than 100 artists and musicians featured in “Young Angel Midnight” have ties to UMass Lowell as students, professors, staff or alumni.
“This anthology shows the vibrancy of the young arts community in Lowell,” says Prof. John Wooding, chair of the COOL board. “Artists of all ages have made this city a unique and inspiring place and “Young Angel Midnight” captures everything that is important about sustaining a community that is alive and exciting and that defines Lowell as a good place to live and to work.”
Ryan Gallagher and Derek Fenner, founders of Bootstrap Press, say that they wanted to tell both Lowell’s story through the arts and the narrative of the city’s art scene. They found the scene’s youth and energy as well as its cultural and aesthetic diversity to be its most compelling aspects.
’10 says that he finds working in Lowell as a young artist “freeing” because of the many outlets to share artistic work. His jobs at the UMass Lowell Robotics Lab and the Revolving Museum keep Norton busy, but he enjoys using art in his daily work and still makes time to build his personal art portfolio.
“The anthology is a fantastic look at the current art and music scene of Lowell,” says Norton. “The book covers so many different areas of Lowell's art scene, which is just as diverse as its culture.”
, manager of the University’s arts studios, also has several pieces featured in the anthology, including the black and white image on its cover. Her photography of Lowell and surrounding areas has been exhibited in several regional galleries. She views the anthology as an important call for continued support for the arts from the University and community as a whole.
“I was aware of many of the artists through their affiliation with UMass Lowell, but to see their work compiled in this remarkable anthology revealed the vital potential of the arts scene in Lowell,” says Isaak-Ross. “I was struck by the feeling that the University and Lowell as a community must recognize this anthology as a call to better support, showcase and fertilize the talents of these artists.”
Norton, who now works as an arts and technology educator to encourage younger students to engage the two areas, is proud to be part of the growing arts scene in Lowell and is certain that its future is bright.
“I’m honored to have my work featured in “Young Angel Midnight,” says Norton. “I'd love to see another book compiled 20 years from now to see how things in Lowell have evolved.”