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

Featured

“THE SUNFLOWER PROJECT” Community Art Trail on AR:T ROUTE BLUE

AR:T ROUTE GOLD

My people will sleep for 100 years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back. Louis Riel

www.thesunflowerproject.ca

A multi community art in action call out to create environmental pubic art plantings and physical art around British Columbia. This project has deep roots in a mural created as a tribute to Loughery’s interned immigrant great-grandparents. The collaboration of many artists and organizations, this project will support small businesses, artists, communities, youth and elders. Like all of Loughery’s projects, this one will engage all, in an art and tourism in action model, that is inclusive to all.

The AR:T ROUTE BLUE ARTIST COLLECTIVE consists of many internationally renowned artists. The group is creating a route of large pieces of public art made from repurposed satellite dishes. The art will be part of a sunflower annual seed planting that to date more than 250,000 seeds have been distributed. All these annual seeds were gifted by Secret Gardens Farm in Spences Bridge, BC and Woodys Pub in Winfield,BC.

The project is being kicked off out of the region of Gold Country, in a partnership with Explore Gold Country, in the reimagining of renewal tourism through a WAYFINDER RURAL CREATES MODEL Loughery created through her work. The kickoff tour is starting in the Thompson to Okanagan areas and has already peaked interest from other areas and countries.

Mile 0 is the kick off in Cache Creek as together the groups #BlossomBC in a #seeds4tomorrow campaign that will create a rural #artroute to support safe travel and support artists and non profits as we support a people, place and plant first recovery.

Loughery has a history of using debris as part of her projects, as in the Canada 150 Ocean Bouy project. This time old satellite dishes and fire debris from the area will be included in the art installations.

HISTORY and Covid…talking to the Sunflowers

Loughery created the concept for this trail in 2013 in the hope to create an artistic conversation story telling project that will pay tribute to all the immigrant nationalities that built the infrastructure of Canada. A mural was created in Vernon BC, telling the story of World War One Internment in Canada of her Ukraine heritage. The project was in partnership with the City of Vernon and the World War One Internment Recognition Fund. The hope of the art was to support examining the past wrongs, while creating a place path to do right. A place of human striving to become better citizens, individuals and build human potential.

COVID and Internment

As Covid19 and the anniversary of the 100 year anniversary of freedom from the Canadian camps happened at the same time. It came to Loughery that the opportunity for people to understand loss of freedoms, was a prevalent opportunity to examine the past to support learning to renewed humanity learning. As she spoke to her internee descendant mother, who was locked in her home, stories about the past led to the sunflower again.

Loughery’s words on why the Russian Mammoth Sunflower.

As the anniversary of 100 years of freedom for the immigrants that came to Canada during World War One, I can not help by sit here in a time warp of stories. Talking to my mother and mother in law who speak of the time of hardship, and cold hearts and hands while recovery from war and economic shortages; to hearing the fear in my children and their generation face economic threats that they have never witnessed.

Time travel exists. It is being a witness to more than one generation at a time, and trying to connect the wisdom to the earnestness. I hear my Baba and my Guido, my scottish grandmother, and my Czech grandfather. They are talking. I hear my mother and my father and my aunts and uncles. I hear the music played, the foods served, and the tough ethics of life instilled. I have strong immigrant roots. My family worked on highways and worked underground, they built community and they lay those they loved to rest. Most of all they taught me to listen to the Sunflowers. And that means listen to your elders and place light on your children to grow.

Why do I pick the Russian Mammoth sunflower as one of the sunflower variety to grow for the sunflower project? Because of the fact it grows the most food. And because of course it is the large mural flower. There will be many other varieties, paint strokes of inclusion.

The sunflower is indigenous to North America. Peter the Great took the seeds to Ukraine and Russia to build a new economy when the rape seed failed. It is interesting that we are bringing the potential of the seed back to North America as we as artists support a renewed social economy.

As the sunflower is strong, we too as people are strong. We all come from deep roots and like the flower it takes a strong stem and a travellers soul to brave change.

Follow as we create plantings and art installations on large satellite dishes Let’s talk about the journey of all the past sunflowers and if you look, be still and hear….you too will hear the sunflowers talk and lead a recovery of people place and planet.

love light and sunflowers ……Michelle

follow the sunflowers at http://www.michelleloughery.org

SUNFLOWER SALUTE

DEDICATED TO OUR CULTURAL HISTORY KEEPERS

LORRIE FLEMING – APRIL 26, 2020

2020

Inspired by a Conversation with Michelle on Our Cultural History Keepers

SUNFLOWER SALUTE

A Unified Face of Humanity Graced by a Smile

Natures Storytellers and Pillars of Peace

Narrative by Lorrie Fleming to Welcome Summertime…

Natures’ emblematic ‘face of hope’, Sunflowers are an expression of happiness that symbolize adoration, loyalty, strength and longevity. Known for its distinguishing trait that stems from its root word (sun) ~ embodies energy, joy and happiness in the advent of summer. It remains a fact that no flower can lift someone’s spirit like a sunflower!

Tracing its roots, Sunflowers originated in the Americas (1,000 BC), and were cultivated as a valuable food source for centuries. With the European exploration of the ‘New World”, the flowers’ popularity spread as the world began to appreciate and recognize its beauty & sustenance bearing a sun- like appearance that radiates an invitation to summer. Sourced for their seeds, the sunflower reflects so many of the sun’s positive characteristics of life. Freshly picked from sunbeams and caught by the eyes of Artists who loved to capture sunflowers as a motif of splendor in various genres throughout ancient times; also revered as sacred & inspirational in ceremonies of aboriginal societies.

Today, the sunflower remains admired for its sunny charm & delightful disposition. It is no wonder this sacred flower was chosen to personify the “The Sunflower Project”, spearheaded by Master Muralist (Michelle) as a historical honor in recognition of the countless Canadian men, women and children of Ukrainian & European origins that were imprisoned at internment camps across Canada during WWI. The murals, commencing with the Sunflower Painting in downtown Vernon, BC combines multi-media, traditional artwork as well as historical photos & personal stories shared by loved ones directly affected in various communities across Canada.

File Name: Sunflower Salute by Lorrie Fleming – April 26, 2020

Inspired by a Conversation with Michelle on Our Cultural History Keepers (The Sunflower State)

Regarded as the “Sunflower State, Kansas in Midwest USA bordered by Missouri on the east and Oklahoma on the south, morphed into it’s namesake emblem to honor the early settlers that fed the seeds to their poultry along the Santa Fe Trail. Hence the Sunflower was officially signed into legislation as a unique & cherished State Symbol. In the southeastern corner of Kansas State, Old Route 66 passes through a brief section [of 13 miles] on its way between Joplin, Missouri and Miami Oklahoma. This is observed as the “shortest stretch of the popular Route between Chicago & LA and is among the best- preserved portions of highway featuring many Roadside Attractions. The vintage buildings of Galena KS, near the MO State Line, inspired Pixar to choose this iconic place as the fictional community of ‘Radiator Springs’ and its beloved character “Tow Mater”.

(Four Women on the Route)

The Kan-O-Tex Service Station on Old Route 66 is a 1920’s building lovingly restored and converted into a Route 66 Café by {Four Women of the Route – Betty, Melba, Renee & Judy}. Collectively, they facilitated the rebirth of Galena’s stretch of Historic Route 66 and dubbed the iconic Gas Station “Four Women on the Road” operated as a tourist attraction for several years. Ownership changed and today it is named “Cars on the Route” with the emphasis on the connection to the Movie CARS. The 1951 International boom truck next to the Kan-O-Tex Service Station was the impetus of the depicted ‘Tow Mater’ character that contributed greatly to the movie’s success.

AR:T ROUTE CANADA

SISTERS OF THE MOTHER ROAD

A SALUTE TO EXPLORE GOLD COUNTRY TO HONOR OUR LINEAR COMMUNITIES

Penned by Lorrie Fleming April 27, 2020

            As the world struggles with climate change, economic adversity and the silent enemy of the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity awaits to reconnect, as social distancing becomes a distant point in time.

            Recently, I shared a surprising & joyful conversation with Cathryn Wilson, of the BC Achievement Foundation, to relay news of my nomination for a Community Award; and it still seems surreal!    In that regard, I am equally humbled, honored and overcome by a feeling that I have reached a juncture along this epic journey to unite the ‘Mother Road’ with BC’s ‘Gold Rush Road’.  An International Art Gateway Project envisioned & created by Master Muralist Michael Loughery is being considered to connect Rural BC along a borderless & cultural journey.  This would include portions of the TCH #1 and [Route 66, 97 & 99] adjoined as one linear community.  

            I remain speechless!  “Sometimes historic paths aren’t discovered until they’re lost”!   Such meaningful words of wisdom notated by a fellow Route 66 aficionado (Anthony Arno).  In my viewpoint of traveling on a road for so long, daylight fades into sunset; and you find yourself following headlights into the unknown.  Somewhere along the way dawns new light cast by living angels to guide us back on track.  I’m referring to my “Sisters of the Mother Road” (Michelle & Stacey creators of ‘Art Route Blue’ and Marcie & her team at ‘Explore Gold Country’).  Special acknowledgement is directed to folks like Steve & Paulette Rice, proprietors of the Historic Packinghouse Eatery, who meet & greet hungry travelers embarking on a scenic journey along an original portion of TCH roadway in Spences Bridge!

            A renown writer quoted “Not all those who wander are lost”; and I believe that we’re all just searching for a new path worth traveling!   Perhaps it’s passion that drives us to find a special place on the road.  Speaking of myself, I can neither sing, dance nor draw, but somehow the people that crossed my path (namely Michelle & Her Creatives) collectively transfer passion into energy driven by the perpetual Power of Art!  Therein lies a permanent bond to greet travelers by painted walls and voice over techniques hearing storytellers that awaken our spirits along a linear community linked by a connective corridor of neighborhoods, families and friendships.    

            Together, we’re traveling in the same direction guided by the power of passion, people & planet.  In an uplifting transformation, the ‘Mother Road meets the Mother Lode’ and we become a family.  Travel the road slowly, stop or stay to live & learn and cross the bridge of knowledge that connects the urban & rural.  Our Ancestors shall rise and show us the way… “Wisdom is the Sunlight of the Soul”! 

A lost road will remember your footsteps, for someday you may wish to return to trace the way

{Quote by Munia Khan}

AR:T Route Blue ROAD REPORT

…Here we are at the start point of the legendary Cariboo Wagon Road that carved a permanent place on Canada’s Western Frontier.  A major transportation hub from fur trails-to-steel rails echoing tales of BC’s historic significance to carry our nation through the ages.  Our history speaks in many languages…Listen quietly, you will be amazed at what you may hear between the timelines of travel!
Lorrie,
Tracing our Trails

Michelle:
Your articulate words speak succinctly to the integrity of your leadership.  An educator, motivator, coach and servant leader (the list is endless)!
Our Society is blessed by your contribution to inspire humankind.  
My heart is touched by you!
Lorrie
Road Mother

#garbagegobbler

Lorrie
Rural Rider

Highway Art:
Here’s the New Garbage Gobblers @ The Coldstream Lookout – Note:  The original version (pic below) housed in Revelstoke!

Lorrie the Highway Mentor

G’Day, My Sister Travelers:

As I sit here now in the wrath of a midland storm awaiting the power to kick in; I contemplate the journey that lies ahead.

Shifting our direction along this course as the wind changes direction, does not mean we’ve lost the will to move forward…

Seemingly, we fall victim of our success, as progress forces us to embrace challenges and shift gears.

Notwithstanding change,  I truly believe that going back to our roots is the force that grounds us to rise above, to reach even higher sources of power.

The thought of the ‘Old Gold Rush Road’ connecting ‘The Mother Road’ hits directly home 🏡 for me.  And the fear of missing an opportunity to ‘thread the needle’ on this ribbon of road may [at times] seem out of reach.

However, As I recapture my thoughts, I see myself (not lost, but found) along a discovery detour in the spotlight of spectacular scenery that becomes anew with every mile forging through this new road.

May our  journey continue and carry us to new heights, keeping our legacy relevant & vibrant by building unbreakable bonds in this galvanized chain of heritage highways.  

As true ”Wayfinders”, Our goal is to rise and lift others whom we meet along this pathway!

Love Lorrie
Staying on Course

The faces of the people

No matter what road life takes you, it truly is the people along the way that are the paint strokes in the canvas of your life. As an artist that traveled the world I have met many many faces. This picture is of a wonderful young man that worked so hard for the Merritt crew. His story was his to tell and he honoured us with parts of it. He shared his dreams and we shared wisdoms to support those dreams. But this young man taught me resilience and silent strength. He was turned away from the care that is his right to receive when he hurt himself during a young rowdy weekend. He bandaged his hand and he came to work on the murals. Not a word was said by him.

When we realized he did not get a response to his visit to the clinic, a colourful paint spattered group went marching into that clinic demanding not to quietly his right to care. You see this young man wanted to be a carpenter and his hand is is tool, his talent and his livelihood. Yes we were muralists, but more we were family.

Blue Line

The Blue Line that connects us all is the roots and routes that bind us together. The indigenous people that are the soul of the land, and the immigrants who flocked here to make a better life for their children. Together these lines circle the globe. Not on race, but all. The indigenous blue is looking at the globe as one nation. The thin blue line that hovers just above the highway, just out of reach. The hope for a connected tribe that sees the earth as our economy, and the people as the tools in a rift of harmony. Is this a vision far reaching? Yes!  But through connections to each other through our creative stories and resilience, we can rise above and have a true global reconciliation.