Michelle Loughery’s painting are far from ordinary murals and art. They are talking walls, art installations, digital creations and evocative contemporary works. They are talking walls: stories told in paint, with every brush stroke becoming part of a conversation between all members of the community. A talking wall, or any artwork speaks to the future, just as it connects to the past and present. See and hear the art on Loughery’s “TAKE IT TO THE WALL” podcast on the Artist Wayfinding Network of AR:T ROUTE RADIO. The art of the radio!
SEE THE Radio and HEAR the AR:T www.artradio.ca
A pioneer in the field of community mural art and rural development, Loughery has spent over 30 years building community through the creation of public art, artist collaborations and community economic development with her signature WAYFINDER and RURALCREATES projects and programs. Thousands of youth have been supported and millions of dollars raised through her signature mural projects.
Loughery’s signature WAYFINDER youth Mural Projects, which strive to enhance the global community through a unique P6 “WAYFINDER RURAL CREATES” community model . Now an exciting new project that will bring Artists together in an AR:T ROUTE blue movement immersive creative augmented reality mural and story trail project.
Award Winning World renown Master Artist, Muralist, Art Educator and Creative Tourism Specialist for over 30 years, Loughery has brought rural recovery and youth art program expertise to communities around the Globe. Creating opportunities for youth and community artists to meaningfully participate in community building and community revitalization though community specific community art in the community realm, creative youth interventions and inclusions and true creative community placemaking based on a strong immigrant community skills base.
Influencing Public Art and leading Communities to support a Creative Economy, while providing social solutions and tourism legacies.Hand to Land talent based training, is the root of Art, and has formed the routes of our lives for generations.…
Providing Communities with advising and consulting on using LARGE SCALE public ART and community infrastructure builds to leave social tourism legacies in their own communities.
An ART ROUTE LEGACY trail dream come true one town at a time!
Murals draw people into their community, especially the youth that sometimes live between the system and the cities. Michelle’s philosophy is one that believes the roots of our talent are the pathways to the future for non traditional learners. While creating mural spaces, these public artwork events unveil solutions to many social and economic issues faced by youth and communities today.
As a child, Loughery witnessed firsthand how mural art rescued her hometown, a small coal-mining town in British Columbia that followed the Chemainus Mural inspiration. Inspired by that early experience, she has become a compelling spokesperson and practitioner of mural art in the service of community revitalization. Loughery’s work has spanned the globe and has inspired hundreds of similar projects.
Not only did Loughery design & paint the first mural in Cuba, Missouri (depicting a Model T Ford long ago owned by a local bank president) with a local Cuba artist, she also inspired Viva Cuba ( Route 66 Mural City) that a program of murals was just the thing to put Cuba back on the map. As Jill Barnett of Viva Cuba put it: “Loughery gave us the vision that we could do a mural project that would not only transform ugly walls into public art but also increase tourism and economic growth”
For over three decades , one wall at a time, Artist Loughery has led artists, youth, government and communities in art creative placemaking and thematic brand experience. Her mural projects were ground breaking in a social economic wayfinding signature philosophy that has changed thousands of youth lives.
Considered a pioneer in her mural work by those who aided her in her global art projects and by the artists and at-risk youth who took their lives to the wall and by those who followed in her footsteps to pursue mural-based art and skills education in other communities. Loughery’s projects have helped communities raise millions of dollars while helping to reduce youth poverty and providing local youth with the skills needed to achieve their dreams.
Creating opportunities for youth and community artists to meaningfully participate in community building and community revitalization though community specific community art in the community realm, creative youth interventions and inclusions and true creative community placemaking based on a strong immigrant community skills base. A visionary, community connector and an artist whose passion for giving youth a voice was a key influencer in the mural movement globally today.
Experiencing the projects behind Michelle Loughery’s Bold Murals & Artwork
British Columbia , Canada based artist, Loughery’s work stretches from massive mural portraiture to multi layered evocative, abstract and figurative encaustic studio work. More than three decades ago, as Loughery’s artwork began to include youth trades programing and community skills training, to grow community projects in scale that entire communities were rebranded, and recreated in her collaborative creative placemaking work.
Born and raised in a rural coal town, the artist began to recognize a certain satisfaction she felt when working at a larger scale, and when youth and seniors from the community were engaged in the experience. From heritage themes, international music star themes, youth social change murals and crime prevention mental health projects, the art form would become integral to Loughery’s artistic exploration.
Inspired by those that challenged the systems, two key attributes behind the design of the Internment Canada Sunflower Mural, Loughery created a colorful massive piece, named “The Sunflower Project’ as tribute to the men and women interned in Canada during world war one. Loughery’s great grandfather and grandmother were effected by this Canadian injustice. Loughery is not unfamiliar with either injustices and challenging social systems ; she’s embraced both through the development of her indigenous youth Wayfinder ArtWORKS Projects and during her career she’s challenged the government and community systems to support youth inclusion and skills building in the process behind each work and global project she has created.
To embrace the parallels between Loughery’s artwork and the communities she champions, requires understanding the process and key themes that inspire her practice.
“My mural work and my studio work are quite different,” she says. “The murals are a work of love and inclusion. It is a infrastructure work of art that brings community together through community development and social change. The mural becomes a sense of place, of return and of skills and story exchange. The work also has much to do with the viewer.”
Loughery muses “The work must make bold statements. Both visually or historically. Not always a positive statement, but one that invites people into the view. It is astounding to me that I painted so much of the past, talking to the people who experienced it, while painting in the present, teaching youth that would be leaders of tomorrow. My work is true time travel. The art itself a time machine.” If it does not have a bold impact right from the start, it can be easily dismissed. The art must celebrate diversity and unsung heroes.
Loughery’s studio artistic work began in the studio long before she painted outside. But her mural work and her studio work are both approached the same. Her murals are approached as a massive fine art pieces, never mapped or gridded. Loughery’s encaustic work is multi-layered and her process of taking away layers to reveal the work beneath the surface, tells of the work she is prepared to do in the development of the medium she creates from the bees wax and pigment waxes she hand makes. Loughery has developed a visual language through her combined multi-media work and has moved beyond being a technical painter into a place of intuition and expression.
Her encaustic paintings are an expression of bold mark making, energy and the melting of layers to reveal thoughts of the work hidden in the thoughts of the experiences of the walls and characters she met along the way. Loughery speaks of her memories in her portrait work and many familiar faces appear in the large striking pieces.
The more I think about the people I paint, the more I think about taking them away from the structured portrait and exploring the essence of their characters in an abstract layered visual language that reveals as much as it conceals.” Loughery has found that her work turns out the best when the eyes capture the viewer.
“I love how one stroke of light can change another color when attempting to light the emotion in the subjects eyes. It goes back to perception and the tricks our mind plays on us and what we believe is real. I am always trying to paint the thought behind the eyes and to reach to the soul of each subject. I try to capture the emotion and the feeling of the light as it changes each layer of colour. This work puts more feeling with the color to put more meaning into the portrait making.”
The work of Loughery is indeed never ordinary, but more extraordinary.
Loughery has with work in collections across the Globe. Loughery’s Encaustic and large contemporary portraits are widely sought after. Her work for her 9/11 Tribute Mural can be found in the Smithsonian in New York City.
AWARDS of note
- BC ACHIEVEMENT
- TOURISM INNOVATION AWARD
- OKANAGAN ART EDUCATOR
- HERITAGE BC AWARD
- WOMAN OF THE YEAR
- MULTICULTURAL AWARD OF BC NOMINATION
PROJECTS OF NOTE
- ROUTE 66 MURAL CITY ARCHITECT
- COUNTRY MUSIC CAPITOL OF CANADA -MURAL CITY
- VERNON BC MURAL PROJECT
- CANADIAN COUNTRY MUSIC MURAL PROJECT CREATOR
- AR:TROUTE BLUE -DESTINATION MURAL TOWN CREATOR
- Wayfinder Rural Creates Tourism Strategy Founder
- AR:T ROUTE GOLD – The Sunflower Project Founder
- AR:T ROUTE BLUE FOUNDER
- WAYFINDER YOUTH MURAL – Digital Skills & Trades Program Creator
1999 – 2005
BC ACHIEVEMENT AWARD winner Loughery created this youth project in 1999. Innovation Award presented for the successful Downtown Revitalization infrastructure rebuild based on the Heritage Mural theme and youth trades Wayfinder program. This project was the catalyst for a downtown rebuild program that brought in close to 6 million dollars in infrastructure dollars based on the youth training in trades and Heritage theme Loughery designed. Loughery worked with CEO Susan Allen to create the BC /Okanagan Mural Project and together they extended the success of this project and started a mural town engagement employment revite movement.
Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Mural Project
2005 – 2012
This signature Loughery project innovation created a series of larger than life murals of country music artists, but also continued the Loughery Wayfinder trades and skills development program called Loughery ARTworks. This project gave many local youth skills and social development, but was also the catalyst for the funds for the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. During this time Loughery was also the founder of the indigenous charity Loughery Mural Artworks Foundation.
Loughery led the community and government as all rallied to support this innovation. Indigenous leaders and youth, municipal, provincial and federal governments, schools and a vast group of non profits and people came together to support a project that was a duplication of the success of the Vernon Mural Project. This project was part of the BC WIDE ART ROUTE Project that was partnered with the Province of BC in 2005. This Project continues today and is an initiative that is continuing today under the name AR:T ROUTE BLUE. Loughery’s youth model was awarded a million dollar grant to support her work in Merritt BC. This is just one stop on the ART ROUTE of Canada Destination MURALTOWN
ROUTE 66 VIVA CUBAMURAL PROJECT
2003 – Present
Route 66 MURAL PROJECT. Consulting and co creation of the Route 66 Mural City. This mural project has been the subject of am impact study that states that the Loughery Wayfinder Mural Town model should be emulated USA wide.
CANADA 150 ROUTE BLUE BUOYS
Creating a pubic art installation with over 500 youth and elders, using ocean buoys cleaned up from BC waters by Oceans Legacy Foundation. This project was an innovation of diversity and inclusion.
The Heritage Mural Project in Sparwood BC was a project dreamed up by Loughery after watching a muralist from Chemainus create three murals depicting the history of her coal mining heritage. Loughery included engagement from youth and elders and as they say the rest is history. It was during her years as CEO of the Arts and Heritage Council that Loughery learned the value of grant and community partnership in community infrastructure building. Putting community art and non profit volunteer time as a line item in community budgets on the income stream has been a passion of hers that is legendary.
Let’s make art.