AR:T ROUTE 66 AR:TROUTE BLUE ARTIST Michelle Loughery BC AR:T ROUTE BLUE Destination Mural Town INDIGO JOURNALS Lorrie Flemming Road Fairy Michelle Loughery Art MURALS ROUTE 66 Mural Project ROUTE BLUE ROAD TRIP BLOG THE BLUE WAYFINDER wayfinder youth stories

Joan of ART

The purpose of the blue.

Since we launched Generation 2 of the mural program “AR:T ROUTE BLUE”, as in many projects, strategic delays occurred.

Some because we chose an inclusive rural path, and some because of the work it takes, especially without a large budget. Not that we have not tried to access Government Funding. But for a project that as not only proved to be a huge success with the youth and social involvement, as well an economic success in the millions, funding has been difficult and perhaps this is part of the issue of rural economic decline.

Mural art was not the crazy influencing movement it is today. Dr Karl Schutz had put Chemainus on the rural reimagining world view, and that was and it will always remain the catalyst for the Canadian Mural movement. But the Michelle Loughery Mural projects were the first to bring social economic development and art and youth training together. The true community building model that has deep roots. The deep roots I speak of of mine are from the immigrant town I was named after Michel, BC. A small coal town that with its five mines was a supreme economic Kingdom for BC and Canada.

There I was taught the model of true rural community. I sat under the table listening to the people talk about needs. A hospital was needed. The people built one. Women who talked about social needs, and young women support, well they made social groups and benevolent funds. I took this university learning time and put it into use when I started my mural projects. One of my first murals was about the women, the town of Michel and the university of life that was gifted me.

We call this model Rural Creates. We also call it the Wayfinder Project. It has been the catalyst for the Merritt and Vernon successes and the important cross border partnership we have with Cuba Missouri and ROUTE 66. We have a huge Destination Mural Town cross border Art tour. One that people connect to with their rural hero community building success stories.

This model has had a global infiltrating effect, and actually a University in the US, has stated it is the small town model that all should emulate But as much as we have pushed this connection model to the powers that be in Canada to help us share and connect our communities, has proved fruitless. Don’t worry that delay has strengthened our parters, global interest and well in the model and history of a girl whose town was forced relocated by the government. It will fuel us to work with the corporations and people and the artists. The artists and singers and writers will lead the content and the content will be from the people and the stories left the property of the people.

I see the digital divide growing as rural people without connectivity and skills being marginalized and that urban hubs with the economic support will not equally share the new gold. And it will be that urban lens. That is frightening to me. Are we forgetting that our food and nature are stewarded by the very rural that is being fragmented?

Why the stories are key!

Canada has been the world’s most welcoming of immigrant destinations. We have to remember though that economic considerations have largely driven Canada’s policies for highly skilled immigrant workers. Check out the Global Talent Acquisition for tech and content stream for new workers.

The Canadian approach to immigration, settlement, citizenship and multiculturalism did not happen by accident. Geography, skills, and much more. Now content. SO if we know this, it is important to collect and tell the stories of all of the immigrants that used their backs to build the infrastructure that we enjoy today. One of the major reasons the immigrants were invited. Their skills. Their resilience to the cold. The fact that a Ukraine farmer had the knowledge to grow food. What will happen to that knowledge?

Transportation Routes

The highways is one of the major routes that we need and use daily in the transportation of goods. Do we rebuild our highways because we need them pretty for tourism? partly. But we need them to move goods and it is the responsibility of this country to maintain them. This of course is happening, the electric highway. The new transportation route. But what about the stories of the first highway. The moving of those boulders and the people who toiled and grew families along those routes.

Major heritage sites are failing, water infrastructure to communities, nature in danger and yet we push for tourism. Tourism is one resource we need, for sure. But the rural communities need the support for tourism management and environmental infrastructure and training to keep up with the global technology rush.

The stories

The stories of the boulder moving, back breaking, death causing work done by the immigrants, settlers and mountain moving people that have left their mark on the fine indigenous lands we took without our knowledge that was not for sale by the government who sold it are vitally important to be told. And the telling of these stories can be to learn what was done and what should not happen again. There are skills to be remembered and a coming together as we try to move ahead as a stronger Canada. The threads that tie are in the people and the histories on the routes and routes of this country we all call home.

My family

My great grandfather paid for the land he was invited by Canada to buy. He did not however plan or did he think he would be interned for nothing more than his nationality. He did most likely plan for the cold winters, the harsh land and the rock moving. But to be interned with his son, to build Parks Canada, and leave his wife with small children, to try to clear that land alone, probably not. The diaries talk about trying for three years to clear that land, and walking miles for laundry work as my great grandmother tried to survive in Mundare, Alberta, She writes about the blankets on the windows and the rabbits coming in to eat in the winter. She talks about building a clay oven and the babies sleeping on the oven to stay warm. She talks about never seeing my great grandfather and says he was and he was in a forced labour camp and that he wrote that he was ill. When he returned it was without his son and never well enough to work much again. The shame of this was never told to my family including my grandfather. In my family story, the land was not cleared, it was reassumed by the Government of Canada and my Great Grandfather returned from the camps, with no pay and a worn out sick body. It was during painting a mural that I found a letter that shed light of this history and I will always wish I could have given this to my Guido, for him to know the truth of the brother he searched for. He was told as we were, that told my grandfather lost the land, the shame of being poor and the shame that interment and injustice caused. The freedom in the knowing is important. There are thousands of stories that need to be uncovered. By many immigrants and many nationalities. It will bring us all together that we all have a story that will break your heart. The story infrastructure is our Canadian truth. I see the pattern repeating. Only the new property is the content and the stories and the gateways. Content distribution without infrastructure..mmm sort of like the water and community infrastructure that was built on a foundation that is now crumbling. Rural is where the land and nature is. The land. The food. We are more than shots of jumping off waterfalls and extreme paragliding and skiing. Make heroes out of farmers and beekeepers and hay growers and mom and pop operations that struggle daily with operations and people with out skills. Make skills learning mobile. Let the youth stay in the rural places and harvest stories and learn to grow food and protect nature. Oh ya why..our earth and all of us in the Kingdom can’t live without it.

Why am I writing about all of this and why does it effect the app. Well it does because as all my mural work, my art is to build community and pay tribute to those that accomplish great things. I have been funded to paint the building of communities, country stars, trains, planes and motorcycles. But when it comes to paying tribute to the stories of the eager young immigrants who came to find a better way for their families. And when it comes to doing projects from a grassroots level with local non profits to share skills and projects that build jobs that feed the people not the system. Well funding is not so flowing. Or do I actually see a crossed off the invitation list.

Do we not want those stories told. The Chinese railroad stories, the Eastern European Highway stories, Parks Canada stories? Ponder that as you watch the groups flying to all the global conferences and global meetings and global take a pic of us at an award opportunity. Yup our tax money at its best.

I know we can not go back and change things. But to do better, we must know better. We must know how this Country was built. We must pay tribute to the indigenous people that were robbed of their homes. And we must also pay tribute to the global indigenous people that did not steal the land. They bought what they thought was for sale.

I was just asked about my app and the application of the app. Well why should we fund..”We can just do the same and we can let a big tech company build the same type of app and it will be higher end, fancier and better.

Well it is true. it may be better because money can buy alot. And can get distributed faster. It will be hollywood quality! why do I hear the game show host..”AND YOU GET A BRAND NEWWWWWWC CAR!… Well if that means the money to build money can go to a content creating company from California and that the content goes to the content creators that are already doing very well in the media stream. I say well it is nice you want to um “cough” borrow my idea. How about we all work together? You distribute and rural people contribute..win win…. working together? what a concept…kindergarden rule #1.

AR:T ROUTE BLUE and the team of blue were the first AR Route. The first connected art route of Destination Mural Town that includes our Wayfinder inclusion. The invitation to Artists has been sent and we have had thousands of people respond. Yup and since paid with a wish and many prayers it may lose in first to the big advertising budget. But I know this, the people, the creatives are rising and we are people, place and planet at the blue are from a long line of resilience.

I am an immigrant child of a small coal mining town. I know this the stories of the rural people are not content commodity for sale. It is one of the resources the rural people have to help support their own economies and regions. The AR:T ROUTE BLUE app well it will work with the people, and help support tech skills and jobs in the Rural Communities. We don’t need the huge tech companies taking that content to build distribution of the stories. Content is King and the gold is in the people. We are going to try our hardest to make sure the stories feed the people before it feeds the system. Circular economy.. And rural people well they can build anything…so yes there will be many more tourism apps that use Augmented Reality, it is the way of the world. But mosquito tourism that takes form the rural without rural inclusion and funding support does not a good model make. So if we are building digital mines around Canada, the people are more than the coal that many are trying to dig.

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