DIY Community Chill 2018 was a Great Success!

We want to thank everyone who made last month’s Community Chill Night a great event! If you couldn’t make the event, check out these great photos:

Each year, we give out three awards. The first, Volunteer of the Year, goes out to a DIY Lowell volunteer or volunteers who exhibited special excellence in leading or working in a DIY Lowell group. This year, we had two winners:

The second, Community Transformation Award, goes to a community group or nonprofit that went above and beyond transforming or activating an underutilized or overlooked public space, as chosen by the DIY Lowell Advisory Committee. Congratulations to the No Bully Zone for winning! See all the nominees here:

Finally, we selected two Best Chilis by popular vote, one from a professional and one from an ameteur! Our winners:

Thanks to all our sponsors and volunteers, who made the event shine! It’s still not too late to donate, just click here to donate by Paypal or check! Thanks to:

  • Paul Marion and Rosemary Noon
  • Greater Lowell Community Foundation
  • Studio 26 Architecture
  • Enterprise Bank
  • Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union
  • Mr. & Ms. Joe Smith
  • Yun-Ju Choi
  • Made in Lowell
  • Coalition for a Better Acre
  • Lowell Film Collaborative
  • Lowell Bike Coalition
  • Points of Light Committee
  • Humanity Boutique
  • Brew’d Awakening
  • Sweet Lydia’s
  • St. Anne’s Episcopal Church
  • Christine Bruins, Tom Hood, Chuck Arnold, Mary Tauras, and many more!

What’s new with DIY Lowell?

There’s never been a better time to start connecting with DIY Lowell!

Community Chill Night

We’re having a Community Chill Night fundraiser this March 9! A special chili contest party with chili sampling, music, games, nonalchoholic drinks, community awards, and our famous “Chilly” DIY Sundae bar! We’ll have special activities such as lantern decorating for the Points of Light Lantern Celebration, photobooth, and learning about our 2018 projects. It’s the perfect way to break winter malaise for families, teens, seniors, and adults! Join the Facebook Event, register here, and join us for a special night.

Lowell Trash Machine

Canal in Lowell, MAThe Lowell Trash Machine is a community volunteer based project to design, construct, and operate an autonomous robot to remove floating trash from the historic canals. UMass Lowell students are designing and building the prototype, and the DIY Lowell team is running a naming contest, connecting with high schoolers to add creative elements to the utilitarian robot, and more. Learn more at their website!

Summer Dreaming Downtown Pixie Marketplace and Festival

Fairy in LowellThe Midsummer Dream event will be a summer day and night festival for kids and adults with a magical fairy theme, with a marketplace, costume contest, kids craft and storytime, and a special “traveling” production of Shakespeare’s classic “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” that will lead the audience through downtown, traveling from scene to scene. This event will be in honor of Lee Pho, owner of Little Delights and a force for magic and joy in Downtown Lowell, who we lost to cancer last year. DIY Lowell, Humanity Boutique, Pollard Memorial Library, and Studio 506 Theatre are partnering for the event, but we need community help! Our next planning session is Thursday, February 8. Join the Facebook event via the link!

Five Projects for 2017!

We want to send our sincere thanks to UTEC, Lowell Cultural Council, all our performers and speakers, the community experts, and especially the participants who made another great summit happen. If you missed it, don’t worry! Each of the project groups has chosen a meeting date, and it’s not too late to start helping them! Reply to this email if you’re interested–or just show up to their upcoming meetings–one of which is next Wednesday!

 

Trash MonsterCanal Trash-Eating Monster
A smaller-scale artistic barge that skims trash off the canals to be launched next year.
Meeting August 8, 6:30 pm, at Mill No. 5

 

Trash AwarenessTrash Awareness Project
An interactive, temporary art installation made out of trash pulled from canals.
Meeting next Wednesday, July 26, 7 pm, at Coffee & Cotton (Mill No. 5)

 

VoicesLowell Voices
A podcast filled with perspectives and stories from the Acre.
Meeting August 15, 12:30 pm, at Sizzling Kitchen

 

DiningRooftop Dining Activation
A special evening event on top of a garage or private roof next summer.
Meeting Thursday, August 24, at Coffee & Cotton (Time TBD)

 

Green RooftposWildcard: Rooftop Garden Installation
A pop-up demonstration of a green roof open to the public.
Meeting September 11, Location & Time TBD

 

Email info@diylowell.org if you’re able to pitch in on any of the above projects! We’re very excited to see them move forward!

Get ready for the 2017 Community Idea Summit

The votes are tallied and we’re excited to announce the winning four ideas to be discussed at our summit next Thursday, 7/20, 6:30 pm, at UTEC.

Canalways Trash-Eating Wheel – Research and Demo
Trash Awareness Project – Artistic Refuse Installation
Lowell Voices – Podcast Series
Rooftop Dining and Drinking – Special Evening Event

We’ll kick off the summit with opening musical and dance performances. Once everyone is energized, NPS Staff Christine Bruins and Resi Polixa will give insider information on their recent projects. Lowell historian and Lowell Walks coordinator Dick Howe Jr. will give an inspirational keynote. Then we’ll break into groups to discuss the winning projects and the wildcard.

Get inspired: Full program graphic

Want to get inspired? Join us next Thursday, 7/20, 6:30 pm, at UTEC (15 Warren St). Add it to your calendar:

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…and please RSVP on Facebook and share with your friends!

Voting Open, Summit Around the Corner!

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for… it’s time to vote for the 2017 Community Ideas on diylowell.org!

The winners will be discussed at our summit along with a wildcard, and be eligible for up to $1,000 in gap funding. Anyone who pledges to come to our July 20 summit or help out a winning project in any small way can vote!

Vote at Uncharted!Want to discuss the ideas in person? We’ve got a special first-time event, the Vote at UnchARTed! Next Wednesday, 7/12, anytime between 5 – 7 pm. This is the perfect event to have a couple drinks, talk about the ideas, and vote in person. A great event to come to if you’re new to DIY Lowell, so spread the word!

Thanks for a great event!

Community Chill Night was an amazing success with an estimated 100 participants, ten chilis, six projects featured in a community video, Do-it-Yourself nametags, and a “Chilly” DIY Dessert: an Ice Cream Sundae Bar! The remarkable evening was capped by a special performance by Lowell’s one and only Party Band.


For our image gallery, click here!

 

Chhavy Sinuon won Volunteer of the Year for her dedicated work on the lovely Domestic Violence Survivor Gallery of Hope. The interactive galler showcased survivors’ stories and art interpretations of their journey. More than 150 visitors found art that they could read, touch, see, feel, and hear in the three days it was active. It started conversations and connected people to resources. Check out a Lowell Sun report here and a photo gallery here.
 
Decatur WayAcre Coming Together Improving our Neighborhood (ACTION) won the Community Transformation Award for Decatur Way, a five-year project of building partnerships and bringing together hundreds of people to transform a forgotten alley that hid crime into a vibrant pedestrian way filled with art and vibrancy. Artists, Poets, and Citizens are continuing to come together to create art that will spill from the walkway into the neighborhood. Check out a Sun story here.
 
Maxine FarkasThe shocking winner of the chili contest was a 3-way tie between 110 Grill Chelmsford, Maxine Farkas, and Dave Ouellette! An instant run-off was held by audience applause with Maxine just barely edging the others out for our coveted certificate.

 
 
 
 

We would like to thank the following groups and people:

Co-Sponsors

Lowell Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, for supporting in part our 2017 activities and providing a grant to the Onyx Room to give scholarships to nonprofits like DIY
 
Coalition for a Better AcreCoalition for a Better Acre, providing fiscal agent services and in-kind donations
 
Cultural Organization of Lowell, providing in-kind donations for Volunteer of the Year and Chili Contest winner prizes
 
Made in Lowell, providing in-kind donations
 
Onyx Room for hosting us and being great partners

Chili Participants

Cafe UTEC‘s Vegetarian Black Bean
Maxine Farkas’s Chili Verde with Pork
Lowell Film Collaborative‘s Vegan Film Lover’s Special
The Party Band‘s Temptation
110 Grill Chelmsford‘s Chili
Jennifer Myers’s Gobble Gobble Great Turkey Chili
Purple Carrot Bread Co. Spicy Black Bean and Jalapeño Chili
Dave Oullette’s Daveyo Chili
Chas’s “What’s in the Fridge”

Volunteers

Amrith Fernandes Prabhu
Christine Bruins
Russell Pandres
Henry Marte
Rithy
Carolyn delehanty
Chhavy and Vytha
Claudia DeFuria
Allyson
…and the DIY Lowell Steering Committee!

DIY Lowell Community Chill Night

Join us  Friday, March 3, 6:30 – 9:00 pm at the Onyx Room in Western Avenue Studios for “Community Chill Night,” a chili contest fundraiser and the kick-off for the 2017 DIY Lowell Season. Celebrate with community connections, music, and other fun surprises including a “Chilly” Do-it-Yourself dessert. Feel free to RSVP and spread the word on Facebook!

We will honor a DIY Lowell volunteer and an outside community group at the event:

Gallery of Hope PosterChhavy Sinuon won Volunteer of the Year for her dedicated work on the lovely Domestic Violence Survivor Gallery of Hope. The interactive galler showcased survivors’ stories and art interpretations of their journey. More than 150 visitors found art that they could read, touch, see, feel, and hear in the three days it was active. It started conversations and connected people to resources. Check out a Lowell Sun report here and a photo gallery here.

Decatur WayAcre Coming Together Improving our Neighborhood (ACTION) won the Community Transformation Award for Decatur Way, a five-year project of building partnerships and bringing together hundreds of people to transform a forgotten alley that hid crime into a vibrant pedestrian way filled with art and vibrancy. Artists, Poets, and Citizens are continuing to come together to create art that will spill from the walkway into the neighborhood. Check out a Sun story here.

Please join us in honoring Chhavy, ACTION, and our other DIY Lowell volunteers and community groups. $5 suggested donation, but we won’t turn anyone away who wants to meet cool people and learn about community. RSVP on Facebook or by emailing info@diylowell.org. Fun for the whole family!

Add the Community Chill Night to your calendar:
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Community Chill Night Flyer

Pop-Up for Park(ing) Day

Photo by Christine Bruins

Photo by Christine Bruins

Last Friday, September 16, the Park(ing) Day Parklet group and community partners transformed three parking spaces into a mini-park, changing the meaning of parking space, if just for a day! The theme was “Words Matter,” and over 300 people came to drop off or pick up books, read, play Jenga, take downtown selfies, participate in Lowell National Historical Park’s story-sharing station, and otherwise have fun.

The group and DIY Lowell hope this starts a conversation about how we can creatively use space downtown. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to demonstrate the need for urban open space, engage in community conversations around how and where these spaces are created, and improve the quality of human experiences on a block level… at least until the meter runs out! In 2016, 160 cities across the world participated in #parkingday

The group is already discussing next year, as several business owners expressed interest in having Park(ing) Day parklets of their own. At least for a single day, it seemed that nobody missed the parking spaces: Christine Bruins, a group member, said, “It’s great, you can see people begin to smile halfway down the block!”

Photo by Christine Bruins

Photo by Christine Bruins

The group wants to thank the following groups and individuals:

  • Permission – City of Lowell Parking and Garages Department (Nicholas Navin, Director)
  • Trees – Lowell Park & Conservation Trust, Inc (Jane Calvin, Executive Director) and City of Lowell Public Works Department (Steve Benoit)
  • Donated Books – Pollard Memorial Library (Sean Thibodeau, Coordinator of Community Planning); Friends of Pollard Memorial Library; Loom Press Web (Paul Marion); many private individuals
  • Logistical Support – Humanity Style Boutique (Ani Vong, Owner)
  • Fencing Material – Lowell National Historical Park (Michael Fernandes, Grounds Supervisor)
  • Benches and carpentry – (Lowell Makes, Jon Goplerud – benches and Mark Hunter- carpentry)
  • Cupcakes – Little Delights Bakery (Lee Taing, Owner)
  • General support, press, and promotion – DIY Lowell; Lowell National Historical Park
Visitors left messages about "What makes a downtown community thrive?" Photo by Christine Bruins.

Visitors left messages about “What makes a downtown community thrive?” Photo by Christine Bruins.

Photos

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The group included Christine Bruins, Katherine DuBose Fuerst, Brian Meade, Corey Sciuto, and Katie Stoll.

Community Idea Voting and Summit!

Thanks, everyone, for your votes. We’re happy to announce the top four winners!

votediy

These will be discussed at the 2016 Community Idea Summit, happening 6:30 pm at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub at 110 Canal Street. We are excited to have Strive For Change Lifestyle kicking us off with a special performance and Rosemary Noon and Paul Marion talk about how art builds community in Lowell! After that, we’ll break into groups to discuss winning ideas with community officials. You can add the it to your calendar using the links below and sign up on our Facebook event!

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