Western Avenue Studios in Lowell, MA, is the largest arts collective in the United States. The complex houses more than 350 different artists plus a coffee shop, brewery, and more. It’s enormous for a reason. The guiding principle is that Western Avenue Studios be affordable for the community. At a time when rents are booming, studios here start at a few hundred dollars per month.
Housed in a 100-year-old mill complex, Western Ave consists of five different buildings. A secure building envelope is vital for an old building and even more critical for a building housing artists. Leaks and moisture can ruin an artist’s livelihood. That’s why it was vital for Western Avenue Studios to find the right roofer for preventative maintenance and repairs. After working with other companies, they started working with Greenwood Roof Services and its Executive Vice President, Joe Jolicoeur. Greenwood’s ability to address all six sides of the building, from leak repairs to a recent roof restoration, provides affordable, dedicated resources to keep the building system secure. And more importantly, GRS serves as an extended team to the facilities management team, working together to come up with outside-the-box solutions. In one such case, GRS removed a tree growing into the side of the building, a difficult feat because it was located in a wall right next to a canal! Coupled with annual inspections and 24-by-7 emergency services, headed by a dedicated project manager, GRS has been instrumental in keeping the facility in tip-top shape for the past five years.
We recently met with Karl Frey, the founder of Western Avenue Studios, and he took us on a tour of the facility. Check out this short video to learn why he loves working with Greenwood Roof Services and why his collaboration is essential for the arts community.