Letter to the Editor, Lowell Sun, pub. August 3, 2017
ArtUp thrives as masterpiece of community spirit, pride
Two years after its inception, ArtUp will soon be releasing it second online catalog of works by local artists. The new catalog includes 135 pieces by 101 artists, selected from 412 submissions spanning genres, mediums, and price points. As CEO of Lowell Community Health Center, I want to thank every artist who submitted work this round.
ArtUp is truly a unique initiative. Patrons purchase works by local artists that become part of a permanent collection at the health center for patients, staff, and visitors to enjoy for years to come. Half of the purchase price supports our annual fundraising, to pay for services that aren't covered by insurance. The other half goes to pay the artist. In its first round, ArtUp raised $135,000 and placed 135 pieces of original artwork by local artists on the health center's walls. We are grateful to those generous patrons. We are also grateful to the ArtUp Committee: Sara Bogosian, James Dyment, Caroline Gallagher, Michael Gallagher, Clare Gunther, Bill Reedy, Liz Stewart, Steve Syverson, and Sara White.
In addition to the arts community, our selection committee included Sonith Peou, the director of our Metta Health Center, and Sheila Och, our chief of Community Health and Policy.
The new ArtUp catalog will be online in early August at www.ArtUpLowell.com. We hope you'll take a look and consider becoming a patron.
Also, we urge you support the local arts community in other ways by patronizing galleries and studios, or attending events, performances, and festivals. The health center is privileged to benefit greatly from the affirming, healing, and uplifting contribution of our local arts community.
SUSAN WEST LEVINE
CEO, Lowell Community Health Center
What is ArtUp?
ArtUp is an innovative approach to integrate the works of Lowell artists on the walls of the new Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) at 161 Jackson Street. This permanent collection is displayed throughout Lowell CHC for public viewing, and celebrates our city’s extraordinary wealth of creative talent.
In January 2015, a new idea was presented to the local art world and general public: artists and donors could collaborate to support the health center and provide a different kind of health care environment celebrating the healing value of art for patients and staff. That month, the health center sent out a prospectus and call for artists resulting in the juried selection of 100 local artists to participate in this experiment. Images of the artwork were published online in an electronic catalog and purchased by donors; ½ of the donation compensated the artist, ½ of the donation benefitted the health center’s fund-raising efforts, and the artwork was placed on walls throughout the health center. A plaque recognizing the donor and the artist, title and medium accompanies each piece. News stories, radio interviews, and pubic curiosity anticipated the opening of the “walls of art” at Lowell CHC.
In September 2016, ArtUp announced the success of its experiment: more than 135 works of art were purchased and donated to the health center. Nearly every artist who submitted work sold one or more pieces to the Center generating over $70,000 in revenue to the artists. We celebrated this unusual collaboration of artists, donors, and the Center at the Art is Up party on September 14th, 2016, with heart-felt acknowledgements and promises for the next iteration.
Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) is expanding its services and outreach to include another 65,000 square feet (next door). Nearly half of Lowell’s entire population receives quality, affordable primary care and behavioral health services or health outreach through Lowell CHC. New services will include vision, dental, and expanded primary care. Fundraising is essential to the fiscal health of the center, as is creating the necessary human experience of feeling safe and cared for in a welcoming and colorful space.
Here's a look at our original video created for the launch of the first round of ArtUp in 2015.