By Mike Moran
THE JACK KEROUAC ESTATE announces the formation of a Jack Kerouac Foundation which is intended to further the creative legacy of world-renowned American writer and artist JACK KEROUAC.
The Foundation’s first initiative will be to pursue funding for the establishment of a Jack Kerouac Museum and Performance Center in the magnificent former St Jean Baptiste Church, which was completed in 1896 to serve Lowell’s once-teeming Little Canada neighborhood. The church was the heart of the neighborhood, as well as the city’s French-Canadian population. It was also the site of Jack’s funeral Mass in 1969.
“Who doesn’t know of the writer Jack Kerouac?” asks the literary executor of his estate Jim Sampas. “It seems every day he is referenced in radio programs, films, TV shows, and podcasts. Celebrated figures from former U.S. President Barack Obama to Bob Dylan, iconic fashion designer Kim Jones and so many more speak of his enduring work and unique style of writing he named “spontaneous prose.” And while there have been monuments built to Kerouac, there is no museum or performance center to celebrate this singular author’s artistry. There’s a strong case to be made that no author in history has been more influential in the musical arts as Jack Kerouac and the performance center will celebrate that legacy.”
“It’s an honor to help make a Jack Kerouac Museum & Performance Center a reality — something we at the Estate have targeted for a long time. When Dave Ouellette of ACTION (Acre Coalition To Improve Our Neighborhood) approached the Estate and the Kerouac Centennial Committee with a proposal to pursue the long-empty church building as our preferred site, we recognized it instantly as a perfect fit for our goals,” says Sylvia Cunha, Director of Marketing & Business Development for the Kerouac Estate and Executive Director of the new foundation. She continues, “We aim to partner with different organizations and individuals. Our fundraising kicks off now, and we plan to show this incredible space to those interested in collaborating with us in March when Jack’s original On The Road scroll returns to Lowell to mark what would have been his 100th Birthday.”
“Memorializing Jack in the place 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,” adds Dave Ouellette. “We want to thank Brian McGowan of TMI Property Management & Development, the owner of the building, for helping us pursue our goals. Purchasing and renovating the building would contribute immeasurably to the reputation of Kerouac, our Acre neighborhood, and the City of Lowell,” shares Ouellette.