Updated: Mar 8, 2019
UnchARTed is one of those places that feel like part of your home. It’s unlike any place I've ever been to (some people have tried a similar concept... but it never quite feels the same), the holy trinity for starving artists: art gallery, music venue, and a restaurant all rolled into one creative masterpiece, Located in the heart of Lowell, UnchARTed is an art gallery that plays host to some of the most creative minds in Lowell and the surrounding communities. After dark, the gallery turns into a music venue, where they invite local bands to perform. And what better way to enjoy art and music than a nice cold beer in one hand, and a big ‘ol slice of pizza in the other. This gem is a space for the community to come together to experience great music, great art, and great food & drinks.
UnchARTed is a fantastic restaurant with an amazing and inventive menu, with a focus on local beer and ciders on tap and even wine by the glass (it is an art gallery after all). I usually head there in the afternoon to grab a slice of pizza (which are HUGE!) accompanied by a small salad and a pint of beer (drafts are about $7). On this trip, they had Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin, Clown Shoes Baked Goods, Dale Pale Ale, Bent Water Pearl, and Bantam Rojo Cider. And for cans (all 16oz pints!) they had Harpoon IPA, Castle Island 'Keeper,' Lord Hobo Boom Sauce (one of Chris' favorites), Amherst 'Jess' IPA, Castle Island 'candlepin', and Jack's Abby Blood Orange. They even have some lighter beers to please the college crowd like Narragansett, Modelo, and Jack's Abby House Lager all around 4$ bucks a pop! I love just grabbing a beer and a slice when I'm in Lowell.. but let's talk about UnchARTed's amazing food menu.
Every other place I've been to that has either live music or local artwork, the food tends to be.....subpar. Well here, the food’s not only tremendous, thoughtful, and fresh—it’s affordable. The menu is off the chARTS (hehe, see what I did there?!)! For starters, they always have a seasonal soup (this time around it was a Tomato Bisque), as well as Spinach & Artichoke Dip, and Dippin' Dough Nugs (bread bites made from their pizza dough, with a marinara sauce for dipping). UnchARTed has 4 salads to choose from that ALWAYS hit the spot (and if that doesn’t quite do it for you, you can always add a protein to it). They also make incredible pressed sandwiches & wraps, like their The Day After Thanksgiving Reuben, with sliced turkey, apple bacon slaw, smoked cheddar, & cranberry jam on sourdough bread (YUM!). Or their Sicilian Tuna Melt, white tuna, capers, olives, lemon, oregano, pickled red onions, & diced marinated tomatoes on ciabatta with fresh mozzarella cheese. HOLY COW! But let’s not dance around it, the real star of the place is their pizza.
At UnchARTed not only do they have a wide selection of pizzas to choose from, but they all come in at different price points for your budget. A 12" pie will cost you anywhere from $9–15 or they offer 18" pies from $16–24. And you know what’s the best part? They offer every pizza by the slice, and they are MASSIVE! Now, all of their pizzas are delicious, but for me, it’s all about their Evil Piggy. Pulled pork, ham, bacon, and chorizo, with a garlic chili marinara and finished with sriracha, then finally drizzled with their house-made cilantro & avocado buttermilk ranch (my mouth is watering already). Another favorite of mine is their Portuguese: chorizo, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, spinach & red sauce (yes, I love chorizo!). For the non-meat lovers out there, UnchARTed’s Mushy Goat is a star in its own right, with marinated shiitake, portabello, & oyster mushrooms with spinach, goat cheese, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. Now I‘ve only listed three, but there are 15 pies to choose from! Or, if you are feeling adventurous (or just very particular) you could be your own ‘pizza artist’ and build your own. And just in case you don’t fill your pizza need, UnchARTed has dessert—Dessert Dippin Dough Nugs. Cinnamon-sugar dusted magical lumps of their pizza dough served with your choice of caramel, chocolate, or cream cheese icing—yeah, it’s as good as it sounds. You're going to want to get 5 orders just for yourself. Giant slices of pizza, local beer on tap, and great artwork, what could be better than this? What if we told you that UnchARTed offers delivery now? We’ll wait while you pick your jaw up off the floor.
UnchARTed also serves as an exhibition and performance space for Lowell's local artists, guest curators, ambitious musicians and creative minds alike. Getting exhibited in UnchARTed gallery is actually quite competitive. My sister even got on their waiting list—which is about 2 years,
and there's a good reason why. Unlike other art galleries, where you will generally get the same type of 'people' (usually artists. and other snobby art-types, duh), at UnchARTed you get a wide cross-section of the entire community. They'll be young Gen Z's going in for a slice of pizza after school while checking out the latest exhibition. You will get Millennials wanting to decompress and listen to some music at night with a couple of drinks while getting captivated by the art. Even in the middle of the afternoon, there will be retirees grabbing an inexpensive slice and quiet time with today's paper. And even some Baby Boomers that haven't given up their youth yet and grabbing some dinner and a show before the night is up... Whatever generation you fit in, even if you're just there to grab a quick drink, the artwork will grab the attention of anyone that enters.
The current exhibition right now really had me looking around twice while I was sipping on my beer. The artwork is displayed around the inside walls which are painted that classic shade of art gallery white. The show is curated very nicely, displaying the artwork in the best possible light by UnchARTed's own Lindsey Parker. Color Play, Paper Folds is a two-artist gallery show by painters Ed Porzio and Diana Zipeto. "Both artists use play in their work to explore complex ideas. Ed, originally from East Boston, uses his training as an architect to bring structure and balance to his abstractions, 'I am interested in revealing depth in the seemingly ordinary. I am able to grasp a nebulous idea, and apply thoughts and observations to concrete forms.' Diana Zipeto, Andover native and a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design, addresses themes in gender equality and social justice in her work, 'Starting with paper photographs of women, I fold and cut the images to give them a 3rd dimension I make large paintings of the fragile paper constructions to capture throw away moments in a solid form.'" Both artists had such different styles, but together in the gallery space, they really connected as a single unit to make one fantastic show.
UnchARTed strives to have music just about every night, sometimes even several bands in one night to get a great variety of music genres under one roof. Almost every week, once the sun goes down, you're bound to find a new local band that attracts young and old alike. Although we’re getting into the slow season, you can still expect to find music on the weekends. The gallery can fit about 90 people once most of the
tables and chairs are moved. The acoustics in the space are amazing, whether it be a solo act or a 6-piece band, the air will be alive with music. UnchARTed strives to include as many genres they can from hard rock and metal, to folk and blues! With such a wide variety of talent in Lowell, you'll never know what kind of music you'll see next (unless you look on their website...). It's extremely rewarding to see people from all generations enjoy the simple things in life, good art, good food, good music, and good company.
Unfortunately, UnchARTed is in a little bit of a bind, "As we’ve passed the threshold on year three in our newest home, we are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up. As we prepare to make some cost-saving adjustments to our business plan, we also realize a financial boost is necessary in order to keep this boat afloat." says the owner and local artist, Michael F. Daily on his Go Fund Me page. I know I'm not the only one that's saddened by this news, I always have great times with the local Lowell folk whenever I'm at UnchARTed. If you have a couple of extra bucks this month, please donate on UnchARTed's Go Fund Me page. There are so many great things about UnchARTed, the food, the music, the art, and not to mention the people that make it what it is: the artistic heartbeat of Lowell.
Some responses from people that donated:
"Art in its many forms (music, movies, multimedia, painting, photography, etc.) has always been my lifeblood. I think it's important to have spaces like this where people can express themselves and hang out with like-minded folks in a safe environment. Plus the vegan pizza is bomb."
(from Daniel Sardella)
"UnchARTed is a real class act! I've played and been to more shows here than anywhere else in Lowell, and always feel right at home!" (from Michael Bloniarz)
"In a world increasing plagued by chain stores and restaurants, we need a place that has character and style. A warm presence in aesthetics, music, and culture. It takes brave people to create the little beautiful nooks like this one that you tell your friends about...and remember fondly after they are gone. Don't let this light go out only to be replaced by another Starbucks, that plays the same top ten garbage songs and hangs schlock art on its walls. Donate." (from Shawn Lambert).
"UnchARTed has been a tremendous place for the arts in Lowell for nearly decade, supporting an incredibly wide array of forms and styles! Thank you!" (from John Shirley),
Help keep the little guys alive and show a little generosity this holiday season, and UnchARTed will surely not disappoint.
More Pictures of UnchARTed down below!