TRANSFORMING OUR HERITAGE HIGHWAYS INTO ART ROUTES

RIVERS-TO-ROADS -TO SCAFFOLDS

Interweaving Threads of Color into the Strands of our Transportation Corridor

Narrative by Lorrie Fleming Penned on December 12, 2020

Inspired by a conversation with Master Muralist, Michelle Loughery

            A new generation of trail blazers are geared up and ready to hit the road, headed for an optimistic journey as the Coronavirus fades into our rear view.  Meanwhile, a new horizon for humankind is being cast on a transportation canvass envisioned by Humanitarian & The Master of Arts, Michelle!  The next step for the Art Route Blue framework is to create a Heritage Highway Recognition Plan and to form an Advisory Committee to work collaboratively in a consortium of partners to cultivate a means to restore the spirits of people, place & planet.  

            Our first pathways of mobility emerged via rivers & waterways connecting early travelers into a landscape of vast terrain that our ancestral pioneers forged initiating a network of trails to open passageways for human navigation.  As the advancement of human travel evolved, our trails developed into rail systems, interspersed with roadways that became highways of a transverse transportation system. 

            Culture & Art changes the face of our civilization; and our roadways & crossroads are the conduit for ancestral history keepers to showcase the founders & pioneers who built our roads and opened new gates to serve the settlements of homesteaders to outreach an immense landscape.  A new horizon is being sculpted to honor the enormous strides of stalwart champions of society and to acknowledge their efforts by transforming the future through visual arts & brush strokes depicting our multifaceted heritage.     

            In our multicultural and distinct society, we are people of many colors, graced by a multitude of vibrant tones and shades of diversity.  As a non-artist, my personal connection to Michelle runs deep, flowing like a river that culminated at the Heart of the Mother Road.  As I traveled on the road, Michelle was high overhead on a scaffold creating the first official Route 66 Mural City in Cuba, Missouri, in 2002.  Painted images that touch the hearts of the townsfolk [The Gold Star Boys aboard the Blue Bonnet Train] depicts the town’s homegrown heroes as they left their home to serve in WWI.     

            Today, in an era of the excessively rushed pace of people {in a hurry to multitask & reach unduly goals}, the time is right to reconnect and reset the inner soul of humanity.  To focus our sights on a sense of shared societal culture in harmony with a lifeline of art spliced into the initiative of Michelle’s Art Route Blue corridor, pumping new life into an upcoming generation of travelers.   Out-of-the Blue appears a beacon of light in pursuit of a beloved Blue Horse (a mythical symbol of hope) and a stabilizer for to all humanity to reach a base of solid ground in this time of global uncertainty.  May we sharply turn towards a Highway of Hope and meet each other on Main Street for a cup of tasty tea!

“If your heart is broken, make Art with the pieces” 

Quote by Shane Koyczan – Canadian Poet & Writer

AR:T ROUTE CANADA

Art and beauty comes in many forms, including the natural and the handmade , and there’s no reason why, when admiring one, you cannot enjoy the other. And there is no reason that our modern cave masterpieces should not be showcased as invitations for the globe to visit and meander along our highways. The bonus is that travellers can fill the art stops in with small business and community events along the way. Connecting our communities makes sense. Like a giant story book. And it makes more sense if a highway art project like ART ROUTE BLUE is launched with artists and grassroots communities. To keep the jobs, make connections and bring the creative economy to the rural communities and keep our young people talking to the elders. This is a people up road trip. The Canadian Version of ROUTE 66. This art trip is long standing in its vision. Held dear by many and led by Queen of the Road Lorrie Flemming. I am just the conductor and the painter who got to paint way before murals became the explosion of trend that are now. Or maybe these modern cave drawings have always been a huge part of the education and history making of the stories of the people and of nature as we all ride the highway of life. Our Destination Mural Town Art Route is a global grid. It has many more layers to unravel and we are excited as many are using the model to bring Destination ART Routes to their regions. There is blue on those walls though! And the blue beings to the hands of the artists, the visionaries and the first people that have shared fire stories since time began. AR:T ROUTE BLUE details great work across the globe. Some of these artworks are showcased in outdoor settings, others however, are set amidst the most beautiful scenery. Take a look and see community social economics through a new lens. With a content building economy made strong by keeping the people in that system. Our stories are our art and our towns the fires that warm the rural earth. We have made ground at AR:T Route Blue. Destination Mural Town has many tourism organizations and communities abuzz. Destination Routes have been growing in rail and nature trails. Art walks have been around forever and people love to stroll through the streets seeking local treasures. But this AR:T Route is unique as the team of Blue are also trainers, educators, creators, builders, healers, connectors, first responders, homeless, nature protectors, storytellers, painters, sculptors, carvers, singers, youth, elders and all first people from the globe. This is community building from a place of renewal to reimagining. A new form of muraltourism. A content creating system that keeps the content with the creators and the power of all horses in front of one cart. The blue is the stories of many, in a place of global connection, to a system that keeps people and nature connected. Now that is reachable tourism and community economics.

AR:TROUTE BLUE with Highway Queen

Lorrie Flemming and her wonderful Husband Bob and their amazing dog are off to follow the blue and blog about the #destination Mural Town tour…
Dear my fellow bluers:

Enjoying the coastline art along the historic reaches of Monterey & adjoining town of Pacific Grove Cali.  The bike trail that joins the two beach cities features this great wall of interpretive vestiges steeped in local history.  Our next overnight stop is San Louis Obispo & Cambria, both strongly rooted in Spanish  culture., followed by my favourite colourful mural town of Exeter – steeped in agricultural history…may the journey implant permeant roots!

Sending love from the road,
Lorrie Fleming
One for the Road
Photos courtesy Bob Walker

BLUE Movement


BUOYS  ART DEBRIS AND ARTISTS

What happens when two or more, or even ten masterfully talented artists collaborate? Is it even possible for such strong individuals to interact and cooperate? Could they create something new together, something different, something brilliant? Yes, yes, and yes! Art collaborations simply cannot be a bad idea.

 
And what if these collaborations helped bring awareness about social issues, and helped to clean plastic from our oceans and water sources? And what if the movement had a crazy name called Route Blue? Would it make sense? Yes, yes and Yes!
And what if the group took ocean buoys, that have been cleaned up from Canadian Beaches, by an non profit called Oceans Legacy Foundation, that found their way here as debris from the Japan Tsunami in 2013, and turned them in to art, and provided a plastic solution and awareness art engagement program?  This would seem a bit crazy… buoys on land?
 
Well it is not crazy. It is a wonderful art event that brings artists together within communities. The buoys bring the energy of the oceans, and lends that power to the art shows and events with mystical gifts from the sea. The buoys connect us to other countries and force us to see the plastic waste issues that are endangering our planet, and food sources. 
 
And what if we looked round and found much more debris, from the Fires of 2017, from rural communities and landfills, and turned that into programming that can help rebuild communities, create jobs and build tourism?
A program with a 30 year success rate, with huge socio economic tangible results and thousands of youth lives involved. 
 
It would make a new movement of social art that creates tourism and socio economic change in a urban and rural connection. 
 
A what if we tied this all to art events and shows, that showcase hidden talent that lies in hidden studios, rural towns and in street art? It would be magical like a herd of blue horses running across an open field, Right?   Well we thought so too, and called it a creative movement, that would run along the common ground of our highways, collecting art stories on walls and unexpected places and create a trek, where artists and art events are supported and tourism encouraged.  What would this long line of blue horses run on?  Well of course,  a blue route, a place along the braided trails of our highways, the path that tells the diverse experiences of all the first peoples that traveled the routes, and the musicians and artists that worked with hardened hands to tell the story of those roots.  Art, youth, history, digital storytelling, content building tourism travel app and map that will invite the globe to explore our areas and hear our tales. Would you follow such a movement? share your blue, your passion for living an artful and wandering wild artist life?
 
Would you be bold enough to show your blue?
 
I am very humbled to have formed this group with my many artist friends. From the inception of the concept my artists peers, have jumped at the chance to be part of something that is larger than the blue ocean and sky. It is something larger than all of us, it is like water is, a movement, a telling of roots and a combining together in community style in art collaboration events that will engage many. 
So watch for our events, murals, shows and crazy stunts as we share the blue…along Route Blue..
 
We are the power of blue!