"Map of Lowell," a print by Lois Mitchell, on view at Chelmsford Library.
"Map of Lowell," a print by Lois Mitchell, on view at Chelmsford Library.

Lowell is a city of immigrants. It started when the city was founded nearly two centuries ago and continues today with an influx of artistic immigrants, who come here to carve out creative lives in supportive surroundings.

The late John Greenwald, a Western Avenue Studios artist, called them the city's "Cultural Immigrants."

And Cultural Immigrants -- A Shared Passion to Create is what artist Maxine Farkas calls the show she curates at Chelmsford Public Library, running April 1-May 29.

"They came looking for community and a support structure based not on ethnicity or religion but rather on common interests and a shared passion to create," says Farkas, who lives and makes art at the Western Avenue Studios and Lofts.

"The Loneliness of the Parking Post," a photograph by Daniel Mathieu, on view at Chelmsford Library.
"The Loneliness of the Parking Post," a photograph by Daniel Mathieu, on view at Chelmsford Library.

"Everyone in the show has moved to Lowell from somewhere else -- none were born here and I think only a couple were born in Massachusetts," she notes.

When Kathy Cryan-Hicks, the library's assistant director of programming and community relations, asked her to do a show, Farkas "jumped at the chance to look at why these artists came to Lowell."

And, she adds, "The art in the show is as diverse as the places the artists came from. It is interesting and quite different."


Participating artists, their media and where they are from, include Angela Ales, painter, Colombia via Miami; Elizabeth Alexander, mixed media, Gloucester; Brian Alves, mixed media, Rhode Island; Sergio Bautista, painter, Mexico and Europe; Rufiya Blank, floral design, Russia's Crimea region; Nikki Giraffo, painter, N.J. via Boston; Markus Haala, printmaker, Germany; David Habercom, photography, Tennessee; J. Haley, inventions, California via Idaho and Texas; Koichiro and Machiko Kurita, photography, Japan via New York; Roneld Lores, sculptor/painter, Cuba via Miami; Daniel Mathieu, photography, France; Lois Mitchell, painter/illustrator, Arlington, Mass.; Emily Sandagata, mixed media, Worcester County; and Robb Sandagata, illustration/painter, Connecticut, via New York and Arizona.

The artists came to Lowell for its welcoming environment and creative vibes. And Ron Lores' comments in the show catalog sum it up best.

Notes Lores, "Being close to Boston, Lowell had lots of things I was looking for, but it also had something I wasn't looking for or expected to find. It had a warmth and welcoming energy that I had never experienced, not even in my hometown. I found out that Lowell is not the kind of place that can devour you, but it is the only place that has ever hugged me."

Gallery Talks are part of the exhibition. The first on Thursday, April 2, at 7 p.m., is also the opening reception and features Farkas discussing "An Historical Geography of Western Avenue."

Other talks include Angela Ales, Thursday, April 9, on color theory; David Habercom, Thursday, April 16, unusual 19th-century photography techniques; Thursday, April 23, Rufiya Blank, floral design demonstration and Daniel Mathieu on photography; and Thursday, April 30, J. Haley, exploring the J. Haley Arts Institute.

Visit www.chelmsfordlibrary.org for details and updates.

Art picks

Glass bowls by Aron Leaman at Loading Dock Gallery.
Glass bowls by Aron Leaman at Loading Dock Gallery.
  • DAZZLING DUO: The Loading Dock Gallery at Lowell's Western Avenue Studios features the collaborative work of member artists Bethany Peck and Aron Leaman in the eye-popping exhibition Layers and Light: Where Sky Meets Sea, running April 1-26, with an opening reception on Saturday, April 4, 5-7 p.m. The exhibit features oil paintings by Peck and blown and sculpted glass by Leaman. Both artists are influenced by nature, and their focus on sky and sea unites their mediums harmoniously. The gallery, located in the WAS complex at 122 Western Ave., is open Wednesday-Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Visit www.theloadingdockgallery.com.
    "Zipper 4," sculpted installation by James Lentz, at UMass Lowell’s University Gallery.
    "Zipper 4," sculpted installation by James Lentz, at UMass Lowell's University Gallery.
  • APRIL SHOWERS: Zippers and Other Interventions, an exhibition of sculptures and installations by Rhode Island artist James Lentz, is on view in the University Gallery in Mahoney Hall, 870 Broadway St., on UMass Lowell's South Campus from April 1-24. His artist's talk is on Thursday, April 2, at 3 p.m., in O'Leary Library, Room 222, followed by a reception in the gallery from 4:15-6 p.m. The event is part of the first Downtown Lowell First Thursdays launching a new season April 2 from 5-9 p.m. Visit www.cultureiscool.org for full schedule.
  • CRYSTAL CLEAR: The Crystal Trio Harmonic Glass Ensemble, performing on glass harp, verrophone and glass panflute bass, gives a concert at the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton on Thursday, April 2, 7-8:30 p.m. $12, non-members; $8, members. Reservations at 978-598-5000, ext. 21.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.