Ah, yes. 2016. For many, it was a year of despair. From losing several iconic artists and musicians to that challenging election, it seemed as though the year would never end. But rather than fret over all the bad, terrible, gut-wrenching sadness that occurred, we strive to stay positive by focusing on all the good that came from the year. 2016 was a year of growth for us at Lowe Mill A&E. We expanded North Floor with the addition of five new studios and later took over the entire first floor of the North Wing, giving the public access to the entire building.
We said “hello” several new artists to the facility, and farewell to a few.
Our galleries expanded thanks to the revitalization of bringing new, amazing regional and national shows to our public art spaces.
And we welcomed several new members to our Mill family including our event coordinator’s Lucy Littlesong, Radiant Shade’s Phaedra Jane, and many more. Our former gallery coordinator left us for bigger and better endeavors (we will never forget you, Aaron!), but his leave brought on a vibrant new member. (Welcome, Amy Mayfield!)
- won the Red Ribbon Award for Best Attraction at the Huntsville-Madison County Hospitality Association’s annual Pineapple Dinner
- expanded from 127 working studios to 148
- hosted several new events including our Open Air Market, Pumpkin Carving Contest, Christmas Party, Artist Talk, Yoga in the Gallery, and more
- tore down fences and opened our new main entrance
- added another mural to our exterior
- got picked up by the National Endowment for the Arts for our Jamey Grimes Artist Talk
- hosted an epic inaugural BonnaWHO? Festival
- added Alchemy Lounge to the mix of local business and expanded Pizzelle’s Confections
- added another swing and moved them to a spot with the perfect view
- painted all entrance doors and numbered them as well (finally!)
- collaborated with the Huntsville Ballet
- collaborated with Huntsville Symphony Orchestra for an afternoon of Music + Movement among the works of Butch Anthony
But perhaps the most exciting part of the year was the announcement of the new sky bridge connecting our neighborhood to Downtown Huntsville, ultimately branching the entire arts and entertainment district. Additionally, this new bridge provides a safer route for cyclists and pedestrians venturing between East and West of the Parkway.
As if things couldn’t get better, the City of Huntsville later announced new retail development space filling the empty lot across from the Mill. Rather than removing aspects of the neighborhood, the City has decided to expand our thriving community. Helping our neighborhood prosper by adding to and not destroying what we hold–that’s just part of the big picture.
Our neighborhood deserves a little attention, and we are looking forward to seeing these changes in the coming year.
But a reflection wouldn’t be complete without a little future insight.
So what does this new year look like for our arts facility?
More growth. More events. More change.
Here are a few things to get excited about in 2017:
- an art collaboration with NASA and the Marshall Space Flight Center
- a beautiful collaboration with the Opera of Ars Nova, coming January 28, 2017
- a new Earth Day Festival with a focus on our growing Lowe Mill A&E Community Garden
- breaking ground on our outdoor classroom
- finishing the redevelopment of our First Floor North Wing
- the inaugural Huntsville Comic Con, in collaboration with SuperPowered Studios
- the expansion of Vertical House Records and Happy Tummy
- more restaurants coming to our facility including an International Cafe and Mountain Valley Catering Company (NOM! PIZZA!)
- finishing Pizzelle’s Confections recent expansion
- tarot card readings (welcome to the Mill, Beth Norwood!)
- TBEX coming to our city in May
- breaking ground on the retail development across the street
- new music at Concerts on the Dock
- more shows in our 6 galleries
Plus tons more surprises along the way. That’s usually how things go at the Mill. We try to “plan”, but most ideas just arise in the moment.
Thank you to everyone who supported us this past year. We are so grateful for all of our patrons, the swan donations, sponsorships, artists, makers, and the Hudson family.
Stay in touch by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Sign up for our newsletter. But most importantly, show your support by visiting and supporting our artists, makers, and independent businesses at the Mill.