If you enjoy the creations of artist, artisans, musicians, and creative people of all kinds, and you’re near by Huntsville, Alabama, you need to consider a visit to Lowe Mill Arts and Entertainment Center.
Lowe Mill began life a hundred years ago as a cotton mill which later became a shoe factory. Even later it was reborn as a central location where artist, artisans, and musicians could create, display, and vend their works. Over a hundred creative people have studios on the three floors of the mill, each housed in an aptly sized cubicle. I have a niece, Erin Michael, who has a studio on the ground floor where she creates one-off pieces of silver jewelry and decorative wall art made with silver chainmaille.
The second floor houses what is referred to as The Flying Monkey and occupied by a group of free thinkers that are definitely throwbacks to the 1960s. When I walked through
the entry way my eyes were immediately captured by the bright colors of tie-dyed clothing being plied by one artisan-vendor. The Flying Monkey floor is simply filled with the amazing and the not so conventional. The Flying Monkey also has a small theater for plays, presentations, and musical performances.
At the opposite end of the building, on the ground floor, is a former loading dock that is used during the warmer months as a stage for free Friday night concerts. I was at Lowe Mill for a cigar box guitar festival and on Friday night about a thousand people sat in lawn chairs and enjoyed roots music performed by a husband-wife duo called Hymn for Her.
Just inside from the dock is a great little sandwich shop called Happy Tummy. I twice had lunch there and as much as enjoying the food, I loved reading the creative names given to the menu items. On day one I enjoyed a Don’t Cry for Me Argen-Tuna sandwich and on day two it was the Stars Falafel on Alabama Panini. Both were served on Fred Bread which is baked by a guy on the second floor named Fred.
Lowe Mill isn’t the only such place, Cincinnati’s Pendleton Art Center, which bills itself as the world’s largest collections of artist under one roof, comes to mind as a more nearby example. But, if you’re headed down I-65 consider a visit to Lowe Mill which is located very close to the Huntsville NASA Space Museums and Space Camp. I’m guessing this could make a good two-day vacation for the family.