Visualize Lowell’s Black History

Telling an undertold story
to encourage Downtown exploration
and support economic recovery

Community Sculpture Vision Team

Visualize Lowell’s Black History explores Lowell’s Black history through art and interpretation. We’re currently recruiting a Community Sculpture Vision Team. This team is a great opportunity to work with an artist to develop a piece of public art celebrating the Black experience in Lowell.

DIY Lowell is working with Ludlow, MA-based artist Kamil Peters on a follow-up to our 2021 Visualize Lowell’s Black History installation. A committee of Black-identifying community members who expressed early interest in the project defined a theme for the sculpture—Black Joy—and an initial concept: a representation of an early slave ship, but from the voids that represent where bodies were laid, long metal vines and stems will protrude with flowers on their ends.

This is a sculpture that represents and is led by the community–so we need a Community Sculpture Vision Team to work with the artist to refine the concept, including its details, its site, how it’s presented, what type of “found” steel objects will go into its construction, and more. Anyone who self-identifies as Black and is 14 years or older may apply by emailing info@diylowell.org a short statement about themselves, their background in Lowell, and why they’re interested before midnight, January 14. No previous expertise in art is necessary. DIY Lowell will select at least six members based on creating a group with diverse lived experiences. This may include diversity of age, background, occupation, and more.

Each member is expected to:

  • Participate in monthly workshops from January 2021 to July 2022 (seven total)
  • Workshops will include discussion about themes, concept, site, and more, with decisions about the sculpture made by consensus between cohort members, the artist, and DIY Lowell
  • Workshops may be in-person or online, with artist attending virtually
  • Workshop day and time will be the same each month and chosen based on cohort’s availability
  • Cohort members may participate in an optional field trip to the artist’s Ludlow, MA studio
  • Cohort members should share news and discuss the Black Joy sculpture with their communities

To thank them for their time, each cohort member will receive a $200 stipend provided at the end of the project OR a $200 donation to a charity of the member’s choice.

Discussion Topics Each Month:

The Community Sculpture Vision Team is sponsored by Mosaic Lowell! One of the above discussions will include how our work fits into the broader story of Mosaic Lowell. We’ll also help Mosaic Lowell spread the word throughout our work.

The installation is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Public Art for Spatial Justice program, with funding from the Barr Foundation.

Previous VLBH Installation

In 2021, we created a trail of pop-up signage between two important landmarks: Mechanics Hall, which housed the barber shop of escaped slave and abolitionist Nathaniel Booth; and the St. Paul’s church, where a committee of African people from the Amistad rebellion spoke to 1,500 to raise funds and awareness. The signage contained facts related to downtown buildings’ relationship to abolitionist and Black History. In addition, there was an art trail along Middlesex Street. To learn more about our 2021 pop-up projects, click on the links below.

Visit the links to learn more:

Pop-Up Black History Trail

Middlesex Street Visualize Lowell’s Black History Art Trail

Juneteenth Performances (2021 Archive)

This effort is led by a committee of community members of color.