Three weeks ago, we had the most amazing night that it’s taken us this long to recover! The 2019 Community Chill Night was a blast. We had over 80 people taste eleven chilis, learn about eight amazing community groups and individuals, participate in “Building Lowell” collaborative art, and finish the evening with ice cream and the Squires of Soul. Thank you so much to everyone who made this event possible, including chili cooks, volunteers, sponsors, and participants! Check out our photos here.
We know you want to know who won if you haven’t heard already!
- Warp and Weft’s 3rd Place Caveman Chili
- D’Youville Life & Wellness Community’s 2nd Place Veggie Chili, and
- Cafe UTEC’s champion Madd Love Chili!
But every chili received plaudits, including the runners up…
- City of Lowell Economic Development Office – Chicken and chorizo chili
- Suzzanne Cromwell – Veggie Happiness
- Purple Carrot Bread Co. – Black bean and quinoa vegan chili
- Tavern In The Square Lowell – Firehouse Chili
- Joy Robinson – Joy’s Spicy Chili
- Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association (LDNA) – Bourbon County Stout Chili
- Spicy Delight chili sponsored by Little Delights
…and last, but not least, Britt Boughner’s Christian Hill Chili Pods took home the amateur chili award Congratulations to all!
If you missed it, RISE Coalition was selected to receive the 2019 COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION AWARD for Welcoming Week Lowell! Among many events, including an outdoor film screening, the Welcoming Week planning committee and Enterprise Bank collaborated with youth engaged in organizations around the City to create panels of art to be displayed outside of the Merrimack St. Enterprise branch.
Artist Mary Hart won the 2019 VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD for her dedication to DIY Lowell projects such as Downtown Winter Decoration and Midsummer Dream 2 Magical Festival. Mary embodies the DIY spirit even when not working on specific DIY events or projects – as she regularly and creatively promotes art and artists in the Lowell Area.
Thanks to our Sponsors
- D’Youville Health and Wellness Center
- Felicia Sullivan
- Gallagher & Cavanaugh
- Greater Lowell Community Foundation
- Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust
- Lowell Plan
Thanks also to…
Lowell Cultural Council for supporting this program in part by a grant. Lowell Cultural Counil is a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
Greater Lowell Community Foundation, providing a generous grant for our new Young Ideas Project, that will engage young people in planning a special project or event they vote on.
Keep track of events for all groups here! Groups can always use assistance getting their projects off the ground. Contact email@example.com if you want to help out a group!
The 2019 Community Chill Night is DIY Lowell’s third annual chili cook-off event! This annual fundraiser brings together the community to celebrate the projects and events that have activated our underused spaces, brought diverse populations together, and made Lowell better.
The event is Friday, March 1, 6:30 – 9:00 pm at St. Anne’s Church Edson Hall (8 Kirk Street).
11 chilis and spicy stews are competing, and YOU get to decide who wins!
- Maria Dickinson’s Chicken and chorizo chili
- Suzz Cromwell’s Veggie Happiness
- Lowell Alliance‘s Vegan Chili (GF)
- Purple Carrot‘s Black bean and quinoa vegan chili
- Tavern in the Square‘s Firehouse Chili
- Warp and Weft‘s Caveman Chili
- Cafe UTEC‘s The Madd Love Chili
- Britt Boughner’s Christian Hill Chili Pods
- Joy Robinson’s Joy’s Spicy Chili
- Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Associations‘s Bourbon County Stout Chili
- D’Youville Life & Wellness‘s D’Youville Veggie Chili
Participate in a collaborative art activity for both young and old, and decorate and color paper cut-outs of Lowell landmarks. These will be glued to a board overlapping one another, creating a fantastic Lowell skyline to be displayed at community events.
Community Transformation Award
The Lowell Coalition for Refugee and Immigrant Support and Engagement (RISE) will receive the annual Community Transformation Award to honor the creation of Welcoming Week Lowell. The Community Transformation Award is given to a group or individual that re-imagined or improved public space. Welcoming Week included artwork hung on the Merrimack Street Enterprise Bank fence, a Flag Parade, a South Common potluck picnic, an Immigrant History Walk, and several other events. RISE was nominated because the Welcoming Week event series is all about promoting inclusivity and integration among long standing community members and newer immigrant groups for a strong, vibrant, equitable and sustainable community.
We will present the award at 7:30 pm, along with a presentation about the runners-up, who have all made our public spaces more vibrant and inclusive:
- The Kindred Project
- Lowell CanalWater Cleaners
- Humanity Boutique
- Mary Hart
- MJ Bujold
- Made in Lowell
- BRM Productions
We’re proud to announce the Squires of Soul will be sharing their home-grown soul and funk music with us, starting around 8:00 pm!
Finally, we’ll have a lot of other fun things throughout the evening:
- Activities for all ages
- Silent Auction for arts, crafts, and services with Community Themes!
- DIY Lowell Idea Submission
- Volunteer of the Year Award
- Our famous Do-it-Yourself Sundae bar
Thanks so much to our sponsors:
2019 Star ($500+)
Super Sponsor ($200+)
- Enterprise Bank
- D’Youville Life and Wellness Foundation
- Gallagher & Cavanaugh
- Lowell Plan
We Need Your Help!
We need your help in the following ways. Nominations and chili entries due February 15!
Nominate a Community Member or Group
We need nominations for people and groups you think have made a difference in making Lowell’s public spaces more vibrant, exciting, kid-friendly, colorful, walkable, or better! All nominees will get a mention in our award ceremony, and winners will get a $20 giftcard for individual and 10 volunteer hours for a group!
Submit a Chili or Stew Entry
This year, we’re hoping for a mix of cultural and ethnic stews with American chilis – anything tasty can compete! We are looking for all kinds: traditional and totally off the wall, meat or vegetable based—you name it. No cost to enter; categories for restaurants and individuals.
Get a VIP Table or Become a Sponsor
We have special sponsorship packages for $100, $200, and $500. Special perks for being a sponsor include VIP treatment for your organization, a banner at the event, and promotion on social media and on our mailing list.
Even if you aren’t from an organization, a donation would be a big help! After a year of Strategic Planning with our Advisory Committee, we’re kicking off a new era of DIY Lowell and raising funds to hire our first-ever part time Program Director. Donations big and small will help us reach our goal.
Volunteer to Help Out
We need help setting up activities, counting chili ballots, scooping ice cream, and more! Please consider helping us out on March 1. Click on the button for a form with all volunteer opportunities.
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:
- Laura Scarlett Tavares, Points of Light Lantern Celebration
- Katherine Dubose Fuerst, Park(ing) Day and Downtown Decorations
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:
- UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center
- Maria Dickinson
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!
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
The 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
The 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!
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!
Canal 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 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)
A podcast filled with perspectives and stories from the Acre.
Meeting August 15, 12:30 pm, at Sizzling Kitchen
Rooftop 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)
Wildcard: Rooftop Garden Installation
A pop-up demonstration of a green roof open to the public.
Meeting September 11, Location & Time TBD
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re able to pitch in on any of the above projects! We’re very excited to see them move forward!
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.
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.
Want to get inspired? Join us next Thursday, 7/20, 6:30 pm, at UTEC (15 Warren St). Add it to your calendar:
…and please RSVP on Facebook and share with your friends!
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.
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”
Amrith Fernandes Prabhu
Chhavy and Vytha
…and the DIY Lowell Steering Committee!
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:
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.
Acre 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 email@example.com. Fun for the whole family!
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!”
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
The group included Christine Bruins, Katherine DuBose Fuerst, Brian Meade, Corey Sciuto, and Katie Stoll.