Crafted community: Western Avenue Studios offers a diverse campus for creatives
Western Avenue Studios is located in Lowell, MA. Below, the team shares some details on their business and the importance of supporting local.
Describe your business:
Western Avenue is an exceptional example of urban reuse – taking an industrial textile mill complex and turning it into a creative community numbering over 370 artists, artisans, and creatives. You can find Western Avenue artists in many galleries throughout New England and beyond.
What makes your business unique?
We are the largest creative campus east of the Mississippi and the second largest in the country. Our mission is to keep Western Avenue a permanently affordable community for the creative class – a goal worth supporting with an in-person visit.
What does your business look like?
We are brick and mortar, hosting monthly First Saturday Open Studios year-round, plus additional special events. Our cooperative art gallery, The Loading Dock Gallery, also has an online store, as do many of our artists and creative businesses. We have a micro-brewery, Navigation Brewing Company, and a coffee shop, Tiny Arms Coffee. We also host Refuge Lowell, an after-school arts program for high school students.
Why is it important to support businesses like yours?
Supporting the local creative economy keeps Lowell the lively cultural destination it is and supports the diversity of people and cultures represented in Lowell. Western Avenue artists cover the entire spectrum of creativity from woodworking to painting, sculpture to ceramics, fiber to mixed media, and photography to illustration. Western Avenue gives young artists the ability to make their art and learn how to sell their work and find guidance from artists further along in their careers.
Do you want to say anything to your customers?
While we feature Open Studios only one day a month – the First Saturday – our doors are open every day for the public to stroll and take in five floors of art and creativity. Art hangs outside the studios on the hallway walls – it is worth the trip just to experience the breadth of creativity.
How has your business changed or adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We moved outside during the warm months to host Outdoor Art Markets, which were hugely successful and enjoyed by the public and the artists.