KANE’S KORNER ~ Western Avenue Studios

Nov. 2023

Described as the “Creative Soul of Lowell” houses more than 350 artists under its roof (westernavenuestudios.com). Kane was very intrigued to learn more about the space because not only can you rent a working space as an artist, but you could also live in an artist loft within a community of fellow creative beings.

Kane learned that many of the artists include teachers and professors throughout the greater Boston area. Each artist has mastered the craft of running a small business inspired by a community that celebrates and fosters creativity.

Western Ave Studios is located in the Pawtucket Canal in a 5-building complex of 265,000 square feet of converted mill space. In 2005 Western Ave Studios opened its doors to 33 art studios and art businesses. Since 2012 Western Ave Studios is 100%. occupied by art studios, businesses, and artist lofts. Kane was excited to learn that not only could you purchase art but many studios offer the opportunity to learn a craft through lessons with the resident artists. Kane always wanted to take painting lessons, so he is looking into opportunities.

When Kane arrived for open studios, it was packed. In fact, he had no idea where he was going to park his car. What is really cool is that dogs are allowed in the buildings to visit. Open studios is an excellent way to browse the hallways to get to know the community.
For those of us that are not creative in that way, the work is very eye opening and inspiring. Kane was blown away by the number of different medias and as a side note many artists put out snacks. Kane loves snacks. He was reminded that snacks were for everyone and not just him.

Kane visited photography studios, sculpture, painting, wood working, metal works, jewelry making, and glass blowing to name a few. Having a long tail Kane stuck to looking at the displays at Mill City Glass Works, lots of delicate and breakable pieces of art in there. Sometimes Kane isn’t as coordinated as he would like to be, a German Shepherd needs to know his limitations.

Besides the artist spaces is the novel idea of housing artists in the loft residence which affords the opportunity to work where you live in this creative community. The 50 lofts spaces range in size from 790 square feet to 1660 square feet.

These are artist only spaces. Potential residents are required to document 3 years of artistic production. Resident artists display their creative works in a community gallery within the building.

There is also a gallery on the first floor of Western Ave Studios called Loading Dock Gallery. This gorgeous gallery displays an eclectic variety of different works of art by the artists that rent workspace within the studio.

Visiting the gallery and open studios is a great way to support small businesses in the local area. On his way out Kane visited the Navigation Brewery, also dog friendly, to have a beer with the local guys.

Kane plans to visit the Open Studios again on November 25th for small business Saturday for the Artist market and December 2nd for Open Studios to get some Christmas shopping done. So if supporting small business and shopping local is a priority for you come check it out. There is a lot to like about Lowell and Western Ave Studios.

Kane Peaslee, Woof
Columnist Valley Patriot ◊