Post-it campaign transforms blighted storefront into a colorful wall of art
It started with a simple message, written on a Post-it and stuck to a vacant downtown storefront: What do you like about Lowell?
The first note was affixed to the window of 43 Market St. by Lowell Chamber of Commerce President Danielle Bergeron. “I was born and raised here, along with my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents…family tree, deep roots.”
Her little pink piece of paper spurred a revolution.
About 100 sticky messages wallpaper the window. More are added every day. All from passersby choosing to point out the bright spots in their city.
“Furey’s burgers, UMass Lowell, Tsongas Center and french toast at Ray Robinson’s” writes Robert Forrant.
“Opportunities for artists to display their talents and there is always something happening,” adds Amanda K.
“I met my beautiful wife here,” writes Bobby T.
Many more are anonymous notes from the heart, ticking off the things that make Lowell unique: Life Alive, Brew’d Awakening’s fair trade, diversity, canal walks, LeLacheur ball park, Concord River Greenway, festivals, national historical park, delicious paisas, amazing young people…
The lists go on and on.
Bergeron says the growing wall of messages is just another part of what she loves about the city.
“This is a place where people come together and where ideas become actions,” she says.
She got the idea for placing the first post-it after reading a story about a similar campaign in Cambridge.
“I knew people would respond,” she says. “Lowell is a special place. Anytime people come here and take the time to see all that’s offered – the ball park, the artists, the museums, the theater, the restaurants, Boarding House Park – there’s just so much that they get sold on the city.”
The Post-it campaign was also an effort to clean up a vacant storefront that has been an “eyesore” for years, Bergeron says. The window showcases old furniture, remnants from a former retail store, and what many consider to be “junk items.”
The Arts League of Lowell (ALL), temporarily housing their gallery space on Merrimack Street, has been interested in moving into the 43 Market space but has been unsuccessful in negotiating a reasonable offer with the building’s owner, says Steve Syverson, president of the ALL Board of Directors.
According to records on file at the Middlesex Registry of Deeds, the property is owned by 43 Market Street Reality Trust. The Trustee, Thomas McElhinney Jr. was unable to be reached for comment Wednesday.
Although the future of the property remains uncertain, Bergeron and others hope the Post-it concept sticks around a while longer.
“They took what was clearly an eyesore and turned it into a village square opportunity for people to talk about what they love about Lowell,” says City Manager Bernie Lynch. “That is Lowell pride.”
What do you like about Lowell? If you can’t come and post, don’t worry, Danielle Bergeron wants to post for you, send her your message here: http://www.facebook.com/greaterlowellchamber#!/greaterlowellchamber