New Jack Kerouac Foundation to Open Museum in Former Lowell Church – Lowell Sun


LOWELL – Literary icon Jack Kerouac, born and raised in Lowell, may soon have a museum established in his honor in the church he visited as a child.

The newly created Kerouac Foundation seeks to establish the Jack Kerouac museum and performance center in the former Saint-Jean-Baptiste church on rue Merrimack. The church was built in 1896 and served the neighborhood’s French-Canadian population, and was also the site of Kerouac’s funeral mass in 1969.

“Who doesn’t know the writer Jack Kerouac? said Jim Sampas, CEO of the foundation. “Although there have been monuments built in Kerouac, there is no museum or performance center to celebrate the artistic talent of this singular author. There is a strong case to be made that no author in history has been more influential in the musical arts than Jack Kerouac and the performance center will celebrate this legacy. “

Sampas, who is also the literary executor of the Kerouac estate, said the idea of ​​the museum and the performance space has been around for some time. Sylvia Cunha, the domain’s marketing director and now the foundation’s CEO, came up with the idea, he said.

When approached by Dave Ouellette of the Acre Coalition to Improve Our Neighborhood, known as Action, with the idea of ​​pursuing the church building as the home for the museum, they immediately knew it was the right choice.

They contacted TMI Property Management and Development, owner of the vacant building, and hope to purchase it soon to make this dream come true.

“Memorize Jack in the place where his brother Gerard was baptized, where he himself served for a time as an altar boy and where he formed a deep bond with the priest who conducted his funeral, Father Spike Morissette, would be incredibly appropriate, ”said Ouellette. .

Sampas said the church will contain a wide variety of artifacts related to Kerouac’s life.

“The idea is to create a space that is very welcoming for everyone, as they would like, I’m sure,” Sampas said. “What we’re trying to do is have a museum that’s going to have Jack’s artifacts, lots of visual artifacts, and something very visually stimulating. It will be original editions, letters and manuscripts, of course, but there will also be things created by artists that help engage audiences.

He noted that Kerouac’s writings influenced a wide variety of writers, visual artists and musicians, which inspired the project to include a performance center in the museum complex.

“I have had the great pleasure and the wonderful experience of working on several entertainment projects where we have had famous rock’n’roll artists, like Eddie Vedder, Michael Stipe, Patti Smith, Tom Waits and others, who love his job and were very excited to be part of anything to do with him, “said Sampas.” The performance center will be celebrating that legacy in a way. “

A centenary celebration of the 100th anniversary of Kerouac is planned this year. As part of the celebration, the original scroll from the writer’s best-known novel, “On the Road”, will be featured in an exhibit titled “Visions of Kerouac” at the Lowell National Historical Park Boott Cotton Mills Galley, among other events .

Sampas said he expects the creation of the museum and performance space to take at least a year and a half, but it’s still too early to tell. However, he said the foundation had already heard from many people interested in helping the project.

“We hope the excitement surrounding this will not only bring money to this project, but also to Lowell’s economy,” Sampas said. “As it is, people come from all over the world. … A lot of people have made a pilgrimage to the grave, so that’s going to speed it up. “


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