'Garden Party' for DTL First Thursday

June's arrival signals a return to bright, blooming gardens alive with vibrant colors and vivid scents.

And Downtown Lowell First Thursday organizers tap into the early summer liveliness with a Garden Party-themed event on Thursday, June 7 from 5-9 p.m.

"Our live kick-off event in May was a huge success. The weather was great, and we hope for a repeat in June, as many of our Garden Partythemed components will be outdoors," said event chairman Marshall Moyer.

Highlights include an outdoor plein air garden painting event hosted by the Arts League of Lowell, along with light refreshments and a paper flower making demonstration indoors.

Nearby, the Whistler House Museum of Art will host a casual tea party, along with food and music in its beautiful garden on Worthen Street.

For hands-on gardening help, stop by Lowell Telecommunications Corporation LTC on Market Street, where OffBeet Compost will present a composting demonstration. Ayer Lofts on Middle Street plans a garden-themed demo.

In addition, said Moyer, "We hope to see Mill City Grows mobile market truck parked on Market Street from 6-8 p.m. with garden seedlings for sale. For additional event details, updates and restaurant food and drink specials, visit: www.facebook.com/dow ntownlowellfirstthursdays/



Memories and more

Mixed media artists Alexandra Derderian shares her work in For Your Entertainment at Lowell's UnchARTed Gallery at 103 Market Street. On view June 5-30, with a reception on June 15, 5-8 p.m., it delves into her tumultuous inner world and navigates the neurotic landscape of her memories through objects and media she's held onto throughout her life. The show features drawings, paintings and video installations. One component is her "T-Shirt Series," featuring renderings of old Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd tie dyes and summer camp tshirts that reflect on adolescent identity. Her video installation "MRI" is an artistic reenactment of her experiences participating in a research study at McLean Hospital on Borderline Personality Disorder. Creating the work was both emotionally and physically challenging, said the artist. "It was cathartic on many levels and a documentation of movement into a place of retrospection." She hopes the show helps viewers reflect on their own past experiences, symbols and the objects that they once aligned their identities with. Visit www.alexandraderderian.com for more on the artist.

Dramatic sculpture

Lowell ceramic sculpture artist John Brickels has created a new work "Before and After the Mill" to honor the late Sen. Paul Tsongas. The stoneware work, featuring a textile mill in ruin on one side and in complete repair on the other, is one of the featured auction items at Merrimack Repertory Theatre's 39th Anniversary Gala on June 2 at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. "I created the sculpture for the MRT to honor the efforts of Paul and Niki Tsongas (who will be honored at the event). Paul brought in federal funds that saved Lowell's historic mills and established the National Park," said Brickels. He has exhibited at the Smithsonian and received major commissions from the State of Vermont and the City of San Antonio, among others. For info on the gala, visit www.mrt.org/gala or call 978-654-7579.

At the Loading Dock Gallery

Patricia Newell, Eric White and Barbara Jean Gilbert, three artists working in unique mediums, interact in Unwinding, a new show at the Loading Dock Gallery at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell. It runs May 30-July 1, with an opening reception on Saturday, June 2, 5-7 p.m. All of the pieces created by the artists utilize materials that are complex, idiosyncratic, and influenced by forces beyond the artists' control. The results are stunning— a must-see. Newell's paintings using an almost scientific focus on technique with distinctly organic, fluid images to create a visually, emotionally engaging experience. White sees beauty and inspiration in the imperfect wounds, burls, decay, and unique edges of fallen and abandoned trees. His insight and expertise empower him to create beautiful and distinctive 3-D objects that come alive with the patterns created by nature; extraordinarily, they are found in the pieces most of us would discard. An interest in urban environments is reflected in Gilbert's paintings. She uses ink, paint, and charcoal poured and soaked into canvas and paper, allowing them to diffuse into the surface, empowering the materials to make their own statement in the final piece. The gallery, located at 122 Western Avenue, Lowell is open Wednesday-Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Call 978-656-1687 or visit www.theloadingdockgallery.com.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@ verizon. net