Arts & Entertainment, Nonprofits, and Real Estate

Arts nonprofit buys main street buildings

April 23, 2015
| By Pat Evans |
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Arts nonprofit buys main street buildings
The nonprofit LowellArts!, formed in 1977, plans to move into a pair of buildings in downtown Lowell in mid 2016. Courtesy LowellArts!

An arts nonprofit has purchased two properties in the urban center of a Grand Rapids suburb.

Downtown Lowell

LowellArts! purchased the buildings in Lowell, at 221 and 223 W. Main St., the former retail locations of Cousin’s Hallmark and River Hollow.

The properties were owned by Mike and Karen Hale.

The nonprofit used a grant from the Lowell Area Community Fund for the down payment on the $300,000 deal for the buildings.

LowellArts! will move from its home at 149 S. Hudson St., where it’s been located since the 1970s.

Lorain Smalligan, executive director of LowellArts!, said that it's been a long-time goal of the nonprofit to move to the Main Street district of historic downtown Lowell, which will provide "much more visibility" for its programs.

She added that the nonprofit anticipates an increase in visitors, with more patrons "stopping by" to view gallery exhibits and, in turn, learning more about the organization and its events and services.


LowellArts! formed a committee to select an architect with hopes of moving into the new space in the middle of 2016. Costs and renovation plans will be known following the selection of the architect.

With a focus on the first floor, the new space will include a large gallery, a workshop and classroom for classes and a performance space with seating for 50 people.

A campaign to raise additional funds will be launched in the near future.

Larger audience

Smalligan said the move is needed to accommodate a growing demand for arts in the community.

She said LowellArts! has grown over the recent years, and its audience has "expanded to the point that we now require a larger facility."

“A larger facility will allow for more exhibition opportunities for artists, and annual exhibits such as the West Michigan Regional Art Competition have more artwork entries than the current space can accommodate,” she said.

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