RURAL REVIVAL ELEVATED TO AN ART! SPREADING SEEDS TO SUCCESS
Narrative by Lorrie Fleming
From the Diary of a Seasoned Traveler along the Roads Less Traveled…
Our highways are the stimulus to steer a renewed and creative sense of place into the heartland of our rural communities. The creative augmented reality of connecting ‘art-in-motion’ is moving closer to actuality, staged along an existing lifeline of humanity surviving between faded gridlines of our highways & byways. A fresh coat of paint is a clear solution to refresh the hopes of humanity living in small towns faced by the reality of a sluggish economy. Survival in the confines of these small towns, hidden in the shadows of cities and seemingly lost between the spaces of our society, remain to be a constant challenge and “takes a village” to achieve a renewed sense of permanence for their future. Reinventing themselves with a creative new image brushed by an injection of hand-to-land artwork stimulates sustainability for a fulfilling & healthful lifestyle that may silently be embedded within its existing foundation & infrastructure.
In the wisdom of others who have faced similar challenges in the advent of Main Streets becoming obsolete by freeways, Route 66 communities (described as a 2,448-mile linear village) was reawakened by the spirit of the folks who refused to let their towns disappear into the sunset. A rebirth of Rural America was born, and a renaissance movement began to rekindle the value of small towns and welcome back a new generation of travelers to experience the journey.
The spirited town of Seligman, after years of economic deprivation of being bypassed by a superhighway, Route 66 in a portion of Arizona State was designated a “Historic Corridor”. This amazing feat was resultant of the determination and drive of ‘The Road Guardian’, Angel Delgadillo (The Founder of the Arizona Historic Route 66 Association) and the citizens who remain proud to call the town of Seligman their home. Arizona is accredited to holding the longest remaining unbroken (158 mile) stretch of Route 66; and the preservation efforts speak to its beholden history and to the vibrant future on the road ahead.
To commemorate this historic title to honor Route 66 from Seligman to Kingman situated along this proclaimed longest stretch of remaining uninterrupted portion of the road in Arizona State, the townsites hosted a ‘Fun Run’ auto event and invited the world to celebrate the rebirth of “Historic Route 66”. The first Route 66 Fun Run was held in 1988 and every year in May, Route 66 enthusiasts worldwide continue to gather to celebrate ‘The Mother Road’ revival and the unique communities that make it a linear destination!
Back here at home in Rural BC, as direct descendants of the Mother Road, we are poised to
reach out to linear communities along Route 97 & 99 joining (TCH – Route One) corridors to broaden our
scope along BC’s heritage highways. Route 66 is the cohesive exemplary paradigm to drive the Rural Revival February 22, 2020
consciousness of travelers onward & upward to BC, reaching the Gold Rush & First Nations Trails to enjoy the drive and savor the experience that exists ‘borderless by nature’.
Art Route Blue flows in harmony with scenic & vintage portions of Canada’s Mother Road (TCH) and its connecting crossroads. An ‘Art Route Parkway’ is the vein of The Mother Road, a natural bloodline bred to promote, protect and energize historic & cultural travel and encompass inclusivity (of all ethnic origins) to embark on the ultimate North American Gateway to ‘Art-in-Motion’. Moving ahead,the Art Route deserves a place (not just a reflection in our rear-view mirror) but in the face of ourwindshield and sited on maps alongside of natural wonders and ‘must-see’ travel experiences. Art “HotSpots” laudable to be highlighted with significance and placed in the spotlight (such as parks & facades)laced along scenic parkways. Create ‘Authentic Art Gateways’ to showcase and celebrate the grandeurof outdoor canvasses bequeathed to travelers amid a creative landscape for generations to follow.
Lessons be learned from those who witnessed the downfall decades of towns & livelihoods in bust & boon economic shifts. The Mother Road shall rise like the tidewaters upon our shores and bring new life in the form of “Art”, creativity, resourcefulness and ingenuity. Let’s Celebrate a Rural Reclamation, as a piece of Canada’s Heritage that’s sitting on the leading edge of ‘art-in-motion’. Follow in the steps of the Guardian of Route 66 (Angel Delgadillo) who spearheaded & shepherded America’s Main Street back from the ashes through to the ages!
In closing, the cover photo features the Route 66 Fun Run cavalcade heading west of Seligman (the Birthplace of Historic Route 66), and reminiscent of one of my favorite heritage sites, Spences Bridge, once a traveler’s hub along the Trans Canada Highway, now a prime “Art Parkway” awaiting for the tide- to-turn toward a creative economic reboot for Rural BC. Dream ~ Draw and Drive it!