“Like a song, a painting is an emotion. The content of a community art mural can be as imaginative as the mind can dream. The context of a mural holds power and action and a hero story. When involving a youth voice in the art you connect with the youth and change the context into a learning experience and help the youth become the hero in their story. You push the context of the mural by letting the youth pull the context into future ideas; to use as vehicle to reach out to their communities, their world and to their peers, thus leading us into a more socially, environmentally and an economically responsible future.”
- AWARD WINNING ARTIST | MURALIST |MENTOR
- COMMUNITY ART EDUCATOR
- COMMUNITY STRATEGIST|ARTENOMICS ARCHITECT
- Social & Economic Partnership Builder
- Community Resource Connection Mapper
Michelle Loughery– has worked in the field of community public art for over 25 years and has created over 300 large-scale murals, over 20 Community Mural Projects, including Route 66 Mural City, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Mural Project, Downtown Vernon BC Mural Project, to name but a few. These projects and her art have been the catalyst for over 70 million dollars and unmeasurable social value. The human connections and social good that these innovative mural projects have created is legendary in the connections and successes of all those that touched thes art walls. Working with intergenerational groups, Loughery draws on her rich experiences in rural Canada to portray a wide variety of historic and contemporary scenes in her murals and art pieces. She carries the name of the small coalmining town of Michel, B.C., in which she was born and raised. Her rare talent in creating large scale -free hand art is an enduring public reminder of Canada’s diverse peoples, heroes and rich cultural heritage. In addition to accepting commissions for public, corporate and private murals, Michelle offers a unique community art program in conjunction with public art mural events.
This totally original program enlists young artist and art students in the community as apprentices, and trains them in the techniques of large format art, while teaching them to map and use their community as a resource and education tool. The projects build powerful social compasses to let youth learn to lead a path either back to the education system, to start their own business or get employment and support from the community resources. Navigating the system, while building lasting legacy tourism and economic tools for communities.
Michelle Loughery ARTS is a dynamic and innovative community art consulting team. Specializing in community art development, arts and cultural planning and long term community economic and social diversification development through public art, tourism and youth/employment training initiatives. Consultancy services also include financial sourcing, sponsorship attainment and long term sustainability planning.
Michelle Loughery has been involved in the planning and management of large and small scale community art development initiatives in both rural and urban communities for the public and private sectors. Michelle Loughery Arts Projects can be tailored to the individual needs of each project or community. Our team of artists, grant writers, business development and community art development experts can expand to take on sub-consultants or become part of a project team according to project requirements..including artist training and mentorship and artist collaborations.
Our young people are our most precious resource, and a driving force for our societies. We must strive to bring the young generations closer, so they know and understand each other better, and put their weight behind good international relations.But young people are also seriously concerned by global challenges, such as economic disparities, climate change, the environment, human values. Youth involvement can make the difference! Living and being active citizens in today’s society also means being open to the world, receptive to other cultures, people, and mindsets. We cannot live in isolation or confined within our borders; we must look beyond our own reality. A key objective of my work is the empowerment of community or group members, bringing them together to create something that they can all be proud of.
- 2013 Okanagan Art Educator Award
- 2014 Nesika Award Nomination
- 2005 BC Achievement Award
- Public and Community Art Developer-Over 50 million raised to date
- Community Art Educator /Economic and Social Change Developer-Youth Skills – Trades Bridging and Training through the Arts
- An artist, organizer, and educator, Michelle Loughery has worked in the field of community public art for 25 years and has created over 300 large-scale murals and created many signature legacy Mural Projects, including Route 66 Mural City, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Mural Project, Downtown Vernon BC Mural Project, to name but a few. Working with intergenerational groups, teens, elders, and children, Loughery draws on her rich experiences in rural Canada to portray a wide variety of historic and contemporary scenes in her murals. She carries the name of the small coalmining town of Michel, B.C., in which she was born and raised. Her rare talent in creating large-scale art is an enduring public reminder of Canada’s diverse peoples, heroes and rich cultural heritage. In addition to accepting commissions for public, corporate and private murals, Michelle offers a unique community art program in conjunction with public art mural assignments. This totally original program enlists young artist and art students in the community as apprentices, and trains them in the techniques of large format art.Early career
Loughery was born in the community of Michel-Natal in the Elk Valley in southeastern British Columbia, but her family was relocated to the nearby mining town of Sparwood when the community of Michel-Natal was dismantled by the provincial government in the 1970s. Greatly influenced by life in a rural town, Loughery began her artistic career by championing the need for art and culture in small towns. As an art administrator, in her early 20s, Loughery saw the vital need for promoting art in her small town as a means to a creative outlet for the community’s artistic youth including her own children.
A muralist is born
It was during her time as an art administrator that Loughery learned of the relatively new public art medium of mural painting. Having experimented with a variety of artistic mediums as a hobby, Loughery decided that she and a group of volunteer young people would paint a mural in downtown Sparwood. With no formal training, Loughery put brush to wall, and painted what is still considered a public art masterpiece. More importantly, the manner in which she painted, with community members and youth volunteers, became the foundation for a career that has expanded the globe and included countless communities and youth.
By the 1990s Loughery had moved to Vernon, British Columbia, where she began a community art program that would ultimately see the creation of 25 larger-than-life murals and a life-changing experience for over 500 youth at risk in that community. Loughery realized early in her muraling career that because of the public nature of the murals, it was imperative to include community members at a grassroot level in the creation of the murals. This involvement ensured that the stories captured in the murals would continue long after the mural had been completed. It was also, during this time that she recognized that youth, especially youth at risk, were often overlooked by communities as valuable, potentially contributing citizens. This recognition led her to develop a youth at risk employment and life skills program that hires youth in a community for a set period of time, to work alongside her painting her magnificent creations. The program Loughery developed also includes the training of communities, through non profit organizations and affiliations, to utilize public art in a manner to increase and/or create tourism through economic and social diversification. Thousands of youth have been mentored by Loughery on her walls. Many have continued with her philosophies in education and trades and skills organizations. Loughery and her philosophies have been the subject of many post secondary studies.
Loughery has worked all over the globe, assisting youth and their communities to establish public art programs. She has been officially recognized by the Canadian, Province of British Columbia and Australian Governments for her valuable work with young people and their communities. She has been instrumental in beginning world class mural projects in Cuba, Missouri Route 66 Mural City, USA; Vernon, British Columbia and her work in the Country Music Capital of Canada, Merritt, British Columbia. Her 9/11 mural commissioned by the Brooklyn Fire Department is on photographic display in the Smithsonian Museum, and she is currently working with the Province of British Columbia on a multi-city mural project entitled, The Wayfinder Project. Loughery and her projects have been pivotal in the trade to skills creative movement. Her work has resulted in millions of dollars raised for communities and unmeasurable social change. Currently Loughery is working on a journal novel with Michael Moore on her wall journeys
Studio Work –A contemporary studio ARTIST as well as Muralist, Michelle’s work can be seen in many galleries and in many collections around the world. Her work is sought after for the vibrancy of her encaustics and the haunting portraits of the people she has met during her journeys on the walls .
“Community Art enhances the quality of life of a community by helping to define and formulate responses to social, economic, cultural and political issues faced by a community. Community Art contributes to cross cultural understanding, and a sense of ownership and responsibility towards ones community. In its broadest definition, community art inspires community understanding, pride and creativity, and benefits the health and the development of individual and community life. At its best, Community Art is more than simply art integrated, installed or performed in a public place: rather it is a community-based process of dialogue, involvement, participation and healing. Communities are more than roads and sewers, we are art and culture and people and the threads that tie us to our souls” Michelle Loughery