Romancing the Rural on Art Route Blue

NAVIGATING LIFE’S CROSSROADS

Traveling Through the “Art of Life” (Michelle)

Narrative by Lorrie Fleming Compiled on October 20, 2020

            Michelle’s artistic life’s vision over the course of a quarter century has elevated the bloodline of Steinbeck’s Mother Road into a borderless and timeless ‘piece of art’.  In her eloquent words “we are all traveling through the art of life”.  Art Route Blue represents art-in-motion and is defined by Michelle as “wayfinding”, a belief in a doctrine that all travelers hold an inclusive right of passage.  Our mobility may differ by the vehicle driven (whether it be the driver at the wheel, the passenger; or (remotely navigating by virtual techniques), we are all equally engaged in the biodiversity of life.

            Art & COVID are ironically mutual counterbalances that renders humankind to be inventive by reshaping our world.  The power of art levels the field and draws the landscape into a broadminded ground of passage. “Placing the dots upon the map is much like stringing the pearls on a necklace”, such meaningful words of wisdom voiced by Stacey – A key pillar of Art Route Blue.  Lacing a legacy linked by a connection to culture & creativity straddled along a linear community corridor that depicts both the inner & outer soul of Art Route Blue.

            As a senior citizen, my experience as a seasoned traveler is tremendously enhanced by the introduction of Art Route Blue injected into my life and becoming a part of something much greater that the journey itself.  Michelle and her creatives coupled with the adept insight of Stacey, collectively carved the cornerstone for a purposeful sense of direction in the manner that we are traveling.  Entertaining an instinct to roam is a quality and a driving force towards a therapeutic escape, a reset button that Art Route Blue generates for a life of mobility throughout the aging process.    

            In life’s mosaic of experiences & events, our greatest asset is the ability to venture beyond the set parameters of the present place and connect to the mystical stories that await between the lines.  Isn’t it ironic that The Artist draws out the words inside the Storyteller…And traveling through the ‘art of life’ is where my personal story shall come alive!  

Moreover, Next Page – Reflections of Trails End 2020 …

An investment in travel is an investment in yourself” ~ A fitting quote by travel blogger Matthew Karsten

Remain in a state of readiness to go somewhere…

                        Seasons drastically change, and no matter how we try to resist, the prolonged Canadian winter is creeping upon us as the calendar turns.  Our annual September summer’s end RV road trip has faded into our rear view.  However, the memories remain to be ‘on a roll’ within the places and the faces of the people who are holding on tightly to the bounty of nature.  

            Recreational activity (cycling & hiking) lead to a bevy of outdoor patios at cafes, coffee shops & roadhouses that serve and carry an energetic vibe.  Coffee is becoming a tasteful artwork, steeped with sweet conversation, and lightly sprinkled with a touch of soulful inspiration. These eateries along the roadbed are a lifeline for travelers, a place to share a homelike meal and recharge the energy for the ride back to camp.     Notwithstanding, the unique boutiques & art galleries that instill the culture into the communities, adding value and balance into the Art of ‘retail therapy’! 

            Traversing the lush sun kissed Okanagan Valley eastward along the Crowsnest Highway #3 through to the golden Boundary Country transitions harmoniously into the untouched splendor of the Kootenay Region.  Hospitality is an endless component here as history unfolds into the downtown Main Streets, characterizing each township, where linear communities are threaded tightly into the local culture & folklore to meet & greet travelers as welcome guests.   

              On these dark days of autumn, I simply open my closet and a light reaches out to seemingly ‘stitch the threads together’ into a dance set to a rhythm of time travel.   A fashionable sense of preparatory direction gives me the tools to enter a world of greatness, dressed to conquer and be transported to incredible places, for a glimpse [just for a moment] in the ‘corners of my mind’!   Armed with an inherent desire to travel draws an extended purpose for me to meet & greet like-minded folks who await along this hopeful journey.  Yes indeed, my readiness to travel is a sense of empowerment that’s reflected deeply into the ‘people, place & planet’ ingrained within my inner soul.   

            In closing, preparation for springtime is a new beginning of life on the road.  My passion for travel begins in my closet, a hemline of anticipation to find the perfect accessory for the new road ahead.  So, here’s to my fellow roadies, gather your travel ‘wish list’, pack for all seasons, fasten the seat belt, tighten up the hat strap, and roll down the windows in pursuit of a sweet ride to somewhere else.  Feel the wanderlust and get ready to soak up new cultures for a pilgrimage of travel by the will of your heart.  

Excerpts of a Seasoned Traveler.

Lorrie,

We are but a feather on this planet, be as gentle”! (Michelle Loughery Master Muralist Extraordinaire)

In search of Sunflowers

By Lorrie Flemming AR:T ROUTE WRITER

Natural Storytellers 

Symbolic Art & Soul of the Road

             “My Heart wants Roots, but my Mind wants Wings…” an articulate phrase coined by popular Lyricist {E.Y. Harburg} that describes the wondering soul of many travelers, like myself, in a constant search for things that make us feel whole.  Commonly referred to as “wanderlust”, I describe the term as a trait characterized by a desire to keep learning via experiences drawn by a magnetic pull touching our inner selves, all while discovering new places!

             The majestic Sunflower is nature’s compass that stand stately as mileposts & guardians to navigate the vastness of our Province leading the way to wondrous time treasures & cultural vestiges.  Sunflowers characterised by their sunny disposition are sprouting in Gold Country as noble wayfinders.  “The Art of the Drive is Coming Alive” in the Village of Cache Creek, where sunflowers are painted on buildings and seedlings are popping up throughout the townsite generating a fresh new beginning for Rural BC.  A geotourism adventure program (aka the Modern-Day Treasure Hunt) is an integral component of the spirit of Cache Creek.  Located at the ‘Junction’ and aptly named, the local Coffee House perks the spirits of travelers by a freshly brewed beverage mixed with tantalizing conversation and a refreshed sense of discovery for the road ahead.  

            Mile ‘0’ through the Gold Country Region is a golden gateway and a pivotal junction where the Trans Canada Highway #1 meets Route 97, directing travelers to an extension of B.C.’s Golden Mother Road.  A Garden of Hope inspired by Internationally Renowned Artist, Michelle Loughery, and a recent meeting with Marcie Down (Executive Director of Explore Gold Country) mutually lifted our spirits into a “sunflower state of mind”.   Soon, bold yellow sunflowers will start to appear with seeds in motion induced by sunshine and orchestrated by the wisdom of horticulturist & Regional Director, Steve Rice, resident of Spences Bridge {an integral part of this “Golden Triangle”}. 

In closing, Articulate road wisdom educates us that no place you have been ever leaves you!  The Sunflower Project is a Milestone, not just a Moment in Time.  Travel is a dynamic teacher and the sunflower is a universal sundial that steers the soul of humanity into a rhythm of hope.  

   Living a nomadic lifestyle is a sacred survival mechanism and adept cultural practice used by indigenous peoples since ancient times.  This mobile skill set is a beneficial & sustainable livelihood set into motion for a multitude of purposes {agriculture, hunting, trading & commerce}.  One is not necessarily a Nomad to live a nomadic lifestyle.  Renown Educator, Author & Keynote Speaker (Stephen R. Covey) said it brilliantly… “Live your life by a compass, not a clock” … 

Yours from a Sunflower State of Mind,

Lorrie Fleming

A Mother of the Road…

  

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