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Eye on Art: ‘On the Road’ scroll returns to Lowell for Kerouac centennial

A 24-foot portion of the scroll on which Kerouac typed his iconic “On the Road” is on view in the Boott Gallery as part of the Lowell-born writer’s 100th birthday celebration. (Courtesy LNHP)
A 24-foot portion of the scroll on which Kerouac typed his iconic “On the Road” is on view in the Boott Gallery as part of the Lowell-born writer’s 100th birthday celebration. (Courtesy LNHP)
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Jack Kerouac’s scroll — the super long one he typed in a frenzy creating his seminal work “On the Road” — returns to Lowell’s Boott Cotton Mills Museum in honor of the 100th birthday of the iconic Beat writer and Lowell native son.

A major part of the “Visions of Kerouac Special Exhibit,” it’s on display from noon to 5 p.m., Friday through April 15, in the Boott Cotton Mills Gallery, a part of the Boott Cotton Mills Museum at 115 John St. Admission is free and reservations to view it are not required.

Lowell National Historical Park and the Kerouac @100 Committee collaborate on the exhibit.

In its entirety, the scroll stretches to 120 feet and is one of the most extraordinary, highly valued manuscripts in American literary history.

It is on loan from The Jim Irsay Collection. Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, has a renowned collection that includes historic and iconic artifacts from rock music, American history and pop culture.

The 24-foot-long portion is part of a larger display that includes archival books, writings, personal objects and photographs, including never-before-seen images of Kerouac taken by Allen Ginsberg, his friend and fellow Beat Generation pioneer.

Also on display is a collection of photos by John Suiter, author of “Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen and Jack Kerouac.” The book, published in 2003, is based on unpublished letters, journals and interviews about the acclaimed Beat poets, and focuses on the Western experiences of these seminal American writers.

Gallery notes

HELP FOR UKRAINE: The Arts League of Lowell puts thought into action with its latest call for artists — Sunflowers for the Ukraine. Drop off sunflower-themed work by April 4 at ALL, 307 Market St., Lowell, for a pop-up show to benefit relief efforts in Ukraine. You can donate your work or create work “not for sale,” but it must feature some form of sunflower — Ukraine’s national bloom — to be exhibited. Photos, prints, paintings, 3D work, all media are accepted. ALL also has a supply of 8- by 8-inch canvases available for those who need them. There will be a collaborative exhibit in the gallery, with more details to follow. Visit artsleagueoflowell.com for info.

SUPPORTING UKRAINE: The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton pays tribute to and supports the Ukrainian people by reinstalling Lesia Sochor’s “Pysanka: Symbol of Renewal” today through July 31. The exhibition, created by the Maine-based contemporary artist, is inspired by the beautiful tradition of intricately decorated Ukrainian Easter egg painting that Sochor does in an annual spring ritual. She has created three new works in response to the current crisis in Ukraine for this exhibition, which was previously on view in 2020-21. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. On April 3, enjoy free admission all day at Free First Sunday and enjoy an Easter egg hunt throughout the museum. Find all the eggs and collect a prize at the front desk. Visit museumofrussianicons.org/plan-your-visit/ for admission info and COVID guidelines.

CALLING ALL ARTISTS: ArtUp Lowell, which makes public art to celebrate and engage the city’s diverse communities, has issued a call for artists to design creative and meaningful murals. March 31 is the deadline to sign up. For info, go to https://form.jotform.com/220576358780868. … Registration is open and must be submitted by May 22 for the “86th Regional Exhibition of Art and Craft” on view June 24 through Sept. 4 at the Fitchburg Art Museum. It is open to all artists and crafters working in any medium who live or work within 30 miles of Fitchburg. Boston-based Jameson Johnson, a writer, curator and community organizer, is this year’s juror. For info, visit https://fitchburgartmuseum.org/86-regional-exhibition-of-art-craft/.

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

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