Artist Michelle Loughery Community AR:T Concept  AR:T ROUTE BLUE( AR:T ROUTE CANADA) has deep roots in her small rural coal mining community. Since 1995 Loughery has been innovating art and heritage as a social community action building program, that has become a movement along the highways of Canada with many partnered communities, non profits, youth, elders and lead by a wonderful bunch of visionary artists and community visionaries.

Regional community destination marketing non-profit such as Gold Country Community Services have shared in knowledge exchange to bring the innovation of her Wayfinder Rural Creates Program to their tourism strategies. Community art will lead a rural connection, to help creatives, creative businesses and rural communities connect in an over arching narrative brand to support to new tourism in educational art and heritage infrastructure trail to support the work all of us must so to support recovery after the pandemic. It will take all of us working together as an ART ALLIANCE to create a drivable route that pays tribute to the past as it paves a future.

Artist Loughery has a reputation for considered, creative, and critical strategic foresight and insight, research and infrastructure analysis. She is a respected thought leader and innovator in the development and implementation of actionable national, regional, and local art policy and projects, community art strategy and plans to support arts and cultural organizations, creative placemaking, and creative culture-led regeneration. Master mind of the Wayfinder Rural Creates model and a connected Destination MURAL TOWN Augmented Reality – AR:T ROUTE RADIO PODCAST Art app tour.

The connected rural community AR:T in action to recovery, connecting creatives and infrastructure building both physically and digitally. Wayfinder Rural Creates is a model of award winning Community Development Artist Michelle Loughery and the strong team of Creative minds that have supported her art in action projects for over 30 years. A true art infrastructure creating consortium, now call AR:T ROUTE BLUE. This group has carried the dream of a highway connected art route for decades, and now as a support to recovery the dream has been given wings.


Challenging all communities to plant sunflowers in the largest temporary natural art exhibit as “seeds of hope to the future”, while leading the path to honor those whose lives were affected 100 years ago would offset people that are challenged through quarantine and can create knowledge and skill transfer generationally.


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

This project is not about blame it is about the celebration of the survivor along the reconciliation path. This is based on a national conversation and wisdom story collection. This is a powerful tool to unite all nationalities in Canada to heal and learn that it is not a single race issue but a humanity issue. We can plant the seeds of change for all nationalities all first people. And that through story telling we can plant the seeds of change so that it will never happen again!!!!

 How we will tell the story!

Inspiration: the journey of our immigrant Canadian story.Throughout Canada’s history, thousands of innocent individuals have been punished through coercive governance: Acadians were expelled from the Maritimes in the eighteenth century; Ukrainians and Germans were interned during the First World War; Japanese and Germans were imprisoned during the Second World War; Aboriginal youth were placed in Residential Schools. The pattern of each of these large-scale operations is disturbingly similar. They begin with doubts about the loyalty of an isolated social or cultural group.  Actions are then taken by a government to minimize upheaval in acting on these doubts, by engaging in forced relocation, imprisonment, or disenfranchisement. Rights are suspended and property is confiscated, stolen, or destroyed. Some years later, another innocent people group is targeted.These operations stain Canada’s ardent proclamations celebrating our multicultural heritage and traditional respect for minorities. We hope to start a conversation between the generations, to ensure these human wrongs do not happen again. We hope to inspire respect for human rights and turn these human wrongs to human rights of change




The overall purpose of this program is to take youth-at-risk and to help them develop the job and life skills that they require to take control over their future to become law abiding and contributing citizens in their community. The program has been successfully duplicated in every community Michelle has worked in. The main reason that this project is successful is that participants are not placed in classic learning situations where there is generally only one set way of doing things. For many youth-at-risk, the standardized or institutionalized methods of learning are very threatening. Thus, although, Michelle and her administrators have high expectations for the youth, the participants are placed in an open, non-threatening environment and in situations where success is achievable.

 Why use Community Art and Social Media Storytelling to tell this story?

The Sunflower Project The mandate of the Sunflower Project is to develop collaborative forms of artwork that represent the voices of a community. Projects are based on the concept that community goes beyond the actual place that individuals live, but rather includes the world at large, which can be reached virtually through social media/networking mediums. Projects are created through the engagement of the community through open dialogue where ideas become part of the artwork as soon as they arise, and where community members can openly challenge and encourage the ideas of others; and in doing so, the Projects become dynamic, real-time and live pieces of artwork that inspire discussion, enlightenment and encourage social change.


The Sunflower Project will not only leave a long lasting cultural and heritage tourism legacy for the people of Canada, but it will also fulfill specific goals and mandates of all groups involved. The Sunflower Project will directly reflect the philosophy of culture, social responsibility, inclusiveness, and sustainability, which are helping to define Canada as the cultural quilt it is. As well, by providing communities with a cultural heritage tourism mechanism, the Sunflower Project will assist the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (CFWWIRF) and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF) in achieving its stated mandates to not only develop sustainable economic heritage legacies so that businesses and communities in provinces across Canada receive benefit of acknowledging a Canadian injustice.

The Sunflower Project will ensure that what happened during Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914 to1920 is remembered throughout Canada.

This initiative is designed to hallow the memory of all victims of Canada’s first internment operation and to communicate and educate Canadians about what happened as a consequence of the internment. The passage of Bill C-331 – Internment of Persons of Ukrainian Origin Recognition Act signaled the Government of Canada’s recognition of an historical injustice. The subsequent redress settlement identified commemorative and educational initiatives as being critical for acquainting the public with the importance of being vigilant in defense of human rights and civil liberties, particularly in periods of domestic and international crisis.

Informing the public about Canada’s first national internment operations requires a focus on what actually happened, an historical injustice, so defined because of:

  • The internment of “enemy aliens” as a result of their socio-economic status
  • The exploitation of interned civilian “enemy aliens” as conscript labour
  • The abrogation of Canada’s international treaty obligations and the setting aside of our country’s political and moral responsibility for those who consequently endured state-sanctioned indignities, including imprisonment, the confiscation of their wealth, and disfranchisement, not because of any wrong they had done but only because of where they had come from, who they were. Any account that seeks to educate our fellow citizens on these subjects must converge on these points for without their explicit treatment no appreciation of the wrongs done can be communicated.

The murals will provide a central place of education, commemoration and reflection on the meaning of these events to Canadian national identity.

Sunflower Project Mission Statement

 Through the unrecognized Canadian Internment operations, the Sunflower Social Imagery Project is endeavoring to take human wrongs and turn them into human rights. Our children have lived in a time of great change and unprecedented freedoms. By planting the seeds of learning through education and art it is hoped the youth of Canada will learn from these wrongs and strive to become better citizens.

The Message of the Sunflowers:A Magic Symbol of Peace by Georgianna Moore

Dedicated to The Children of the World
Who Will Sow the Sunflower Seeds of Peace

Once upon a time the earth was even more beautiful than it is today. The water was pure and deep, reflecting within itself the sunlight which gave life to all the creatures beneath the waves.

The earth was green with many kinds of trees and plants. These gave food and shelter to the birds, the animals, and to all mankind. At night the air was so clear that the starlight gave a glow almost as bright as the moon.

The people of the earth lived close to nature. They understood it and honored it and never took more than what they needed from it. The people lived in peace so they prospered and began to build many nations all
around the world according to nature’s climate.

But one day, a terrible thing happened. A strange spirit of greed entered the hearts of mankind. People began to be jealous of one another, and they were not satisfied will all the good things they already had. The nations wanted more and more of everything: more land, more water, more resources. They squeezed precious minerals from the earth to build terrible weapons to defend their nations from other greedier nations. They killed one another. They polluted the air and the water with poisons. Nature began to die. This is called war. War is ugly. It destroys love and hope and peace.
Then one day a magical thing occurred. The birds of the air, the animals of the land, and the creatures beneath the waters came to an agreement: if they were to survive, something would have to be done to stop these wars. Only through peace could their world survive.

We cannot speak the human language, they declared, and mankindmcan no longer understand ours. We must find among us a symbol of peace so brilliant that all who see it will stop and remember that peace and sharing are beautiful.

I am what you need, said a golden sunflower. I am tall and bright. My leaves are food for the animals, my yellow petals can turn plain cloth to gold, my seeds are many and are used for food by all living beings. Yet, the seeds I drop upon the ground can take root and I will grow again and again. I can be your symbol of peace.

All nature rejoiced, and it was decided that the birds would each take one sunflower seed and that they would fly over every nation and plant the seed in the earth as a gift. The seeds took root and grew, and the sunflowers multiplied.

Wherever the sunflowers grew, there seemed to be a special golden glow in the air. The people could not ignore such a magical sight. Soon they began to understand the message of the sunflowers so they decided to destroy all of their terrible weapons and to put an end to the greed and to the fear of war. They chose the sunflower as a symbol of peace and new life for all the world to recognize and understand.

A ceremony was celebrated by planting a whole field of sunflowers. Artists painted pictures of the sunflowers, writers wrote about them, and the people of the world were asked to plant more sunflowers seeds as a symbol of remembrance.

All nature rejoiced once more as the golden sunflowers stood tall with their faces turned eastward to the rising sun, then following the sun until the setting in the west. They gave their goodness to the world so that everyone who sees a sunflower will know that the golden light of peace is beautiful.

Sunflowers have become the symbol of a world free of nuclear
weapons. After Ukraine gave up its last nuclear warhead, the Defense
Ministers of the US, Russia and Ukraine met on a former Ukrainian missile
base, June 4, 1996. They celebrated by scattering sunflower seeds and
planting sunflowers. Former US Secretary of Defense William Perry said,
Sunflowers instead of missiles in the soil will ensure peace for future

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