Sculpting the Stories into Timeless Art Touring Trails

Narrative Penned by Lorrie Fleming for Release in April 2021

            Dreams carry us away as a momentary escape from reality!  Imagining life after COVID confinement is akin to awaking from a prolonged & deep dream, much like landing on a distant shore!  The mind is racing, my heart is pacing, and my emotions are swimming from sea to sand in contemplation of “hitting the road”.  However, thoughts of an inner vision that’s shifting into gear after a ‘year-long sleep’ is somewhat haunting me, a feeling of similarity to Rip Van Winkle awakening in the strange tale’s ending of author Washington Irving’s famous Fairy Tale.     

            A Cantilever Bridge named in honor of Rip Van Winkle (memorialized in the story) spans the Hudson River in New York; and that’s just how art, literature and story telling creates a culture of economic sustainability.  Gravity pulls ‘Circular Art’ into a reciprocal perspective and manifests value into the vestiges of our cultural legacies.  A true measurement of cultural value is profoundly apparent within each distinct ‘persona’ (described as the aspect of someone’s character & traits perceived by others) as seen in literature and portrayed in the Art of lifetime expressions carved into face-lines.  

            Folklore sums up the experience, defining every line, wrinkle, and spot on one’s face with Its own special meaning.  Telltale signs reveal grief, anxiety, hardships, emotion, and life experiences between the lines.  Overlapped amid these bloodlines, builds character that rests silently along a ribbon of roads, that is deeply rooted into the soul of a person’s story.  Folklore defined as traditional beliefs, customs and stories passed through generations by word of mouth; implanted into a popular myth, culture and belief relating to a particular place, period, and of the people that disseminated within a region.  

            Folklore has no author (like a fairy-tale), it simply emerges out of cultures of everyday people into the tales that people tell, urban legends, myths that are carried forward by constant retelling.  Fairy Tales do come true-to-life in the form of Art, much like a favorite song that travels with you time-after-time along our journey.  The line between mythology and folklore is subjective.  Myth is held in sacred or spiritual reverence, whereas a folktale is popular, but not sacred.     

            Art is the glue to bond society and a counterweight of balance for the social & economic divide between rural, urban & suburban communities.  Being locked into neutral by COVID, forces us to recalibrate and set new goals for a stronger and more permanent path carved into an artform.  Art is the “currency” in the eye of the traveling public that harvests the stories protected by the History Keepers and ingrained deeply into the DNA of the Artwork; and portrayed as a Highway Delivery Billboard.   

            There exists a parallel spirit, a world, a special place inhabited by the unseen eye.  Mothers of the Road and History Keepers collectively add permanence to our society (just like a blueprint & trademark stamped by a sacred signature).  Let the Power of Art carry us to the Godparents of all murals and speak in a soft tone of a colloquial language for all humankind to understand and learn.  Entrust in the people of the wall as their images appear to the viewer (the traveller) that moves within the blue spaces along the horizon and transported by a Mystical Blue Horse held by the reins of a ‘Lifeline of Art’.    

            Fasten the seat belts and tune up the volume dial on “Art Route Radio”, Michelle has surprise guests to accompany you for the ride along your journey.  As we get ready to roll on a mystery tour, the storyline magic will unfold as Michelle holds the color wheel to highlight the people, places, and the stories of those who contributed to our life of freedom.  Filled by a fusion of tears of joy, sadness and despair, Michelle’s Art Route Radio tour expounds the trials & tribulations which paved our roads in the aggregate patchwork that built our nation strong & free.  Listen to the message between the breathes, time-after-time, they shall be our Highway of Hearts, a teaching platform to carry us home.  Let the road take you to the path unknown, unlock the experience of ‘Destination Mural Towns’ and share the campfire stories at journey’s pause.  The joy of travel comes from the unexpected, full of things that once were…

Talk with your eyes, listen with your heart, for eyes are the window to the soul!



Murals as a circular economy in the renewal!

As a pioneer in the mural movement it is more than exciting to watch the bounty of murals being created worldwide.

The concept of wall art goes back to all our ancestors. The power that this large art medium provides is immense.

The social side of the production, the tourism draw, the beautification, the economy and most of all the creation of a return to place and our connected stories.

The economy of mural art is based in many layers. The production of the contract scope of work, basically the hiring of the artists and the purchasing of supplies is layer one. Then comes the use of the art. Layer two. This of course brings in copyright and licensing, ah, yes! The scary copyright word, which is not scary at all, but actually the coin of the art economy that can become a circular economy that can support renewal and artists and our communities.

Then the inclusive layer three. Art is business, construction, signage, heath support, social programming, youth and senior engaging, diversity inclusion bridge, a learning centre, and a legacy tourism draw all rolled into a voice for time. Oh yah….. and it decorates our downtowns and alleys. Win WIn.

This is social community art work! Legacy work that can lead to a shared prosperity highway trail to help us rebuild a path to small businesses, resorts, small towns and most importantly to a creative economy that includes the creatives, and inclusive to all others.

Everyone can participate in wall in action! Heritage buffs, children, teachers, business owners, artists, street youth….politicians, elders, museums, downtown economic groups, art galleries…..well the list is endless.

As an artist that has created huge interactive diverse, and inclusive projects for over 35 years, it amuses me when murals are looked at as a new trend. It is not. Humanity has left stories and taught children through images on walls that are really time capsules in caves around the world. The new images may lack the longevity of the mountain walls, on rapidly fading infrastructure, but if taken to a circular level can become the very catalyst for new infrastructure and economy renewal strategies.

It is well known that I have been the voice pushing for a connected art trail for a very long time. Many know of my sometimes annoying soap box to push the importance of community art. It is something that so many have supported for several decades as something that is vital to community social change and tourism strategies.

Covid has made what has been a life long dream, become a common thread for many now looking to figure out safe visitation opportunities, work opportunities and rebuilding. I am excited about all the artists and partners, governments and stakeholders jumping into the mural movement. I am so proud to have been a pioneer in the field.

The one thing wisdom offers is…what is the overarching theme? and is there a connected path that builds infrastructure, and uses the art to build a shared social economy. This is the business of the arts. And that part is vital to long term benevolent foundation support and management of the cash…yes I said it cash that is going to be generated from the creative work. Imagine art as an economy…well this is now and it is happening…I hope we can not trade that property for a low artist fee. I hope we all as artists can work together to protect and build the public art resource into a circular resource and mine for a creative tomorrow. Building art mines around our communities that build the resources from our creatives on the economic financial spreadsheets of our politicians and city halls.

ART in Action is the social economy in Action. Stay tuned as we unroll some exciting new projects and learning on @artrouteblue @artroutegold @artroutradio @mlougherymurals