When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an artist. Not in the traditional sense as my mind sinks into the past. More of conductor of unreachable projects. I think of the grand giant flowers my mother would let me paint on my bedroom walls, or the basement wall. Or my lavender bedspread that I melted with nail polish remover after attempting to paint that too. The art of my childhood was larger than life to me. I wanted all my friends to participate and perhaps it was how I felt included when the mean girls took their shots.
Perhaps that is why my work has been so focused on inclusion. To feel not included in your community of what ever size is like social suicide. The youth and elders that joined me on the walls, sitting on hot, or sometimes freezing scaffolding were part of a huge tribe. The island of misfit toys I used to say.
Now the creative movement is leading the Covid renewal. I worry for the artists who need to learn about copyright and the business of the arts. why? So that the content the creators create is in a shared economy with the artists and story tellers and the stories must belong to the cultures that own them. These properties are not to be traded for small shiny beads that will not sustain the very origin. A movement of wise people must come together as way finders to learn from each other and maintain an economy of resilience for people, place and planet. Route 66 is a famed tourism plan that utilized artists and murals to build a new economy after the depression. That is what the ART ROUTE CANADA plan I have dreamt about is. It is built from a phone call many years ago with a man named David Knudson and a woman named Lorrie Fleming. The result of those calls was the formation of the ROUTE 66 Mural Program, a vision of a chain of numbered murals down the entire length of the road. 20 years later it has happened. I may not have painted them all. But I painted many many, and created the ROUTE 66 Mural city, with my other hat of a community creative economic developer dressed in painting clothes.
SO who are these two? Well Mr. David Knudson and his wife, Mary Lou, are the founders of the National Historic Route 66 Federation, the worldwide, nonprofit organization dedicated to directing the public’s attention to the importance of U. S. Highway Route 66 in America’s cultural heritage and acquiring the federal, state and private support necessary to preserve the historic landmarks and revitalize the economies of communities along the entire 2,400-mile stretch of road.
Lorrie Fleming is the Queen of the Canadian Highway movement and founder of the Route 66/99 Foundation in British Columbia. She is also a founding member of AR:T ROUTE 66/99 a destination mural trail that will cross the borders of USA and Canada in a connected mural digital road trip itinerary.
As Lorrie puts it in her painterly words.
“May we forever be connected on the wings of the Mother Road, a scripture that symbolizes the message within the Peace Arch Monument situated on Highway 99 linking Blaine Washington & Surrey BC – merging together two nations as one ‘contiguous’ pathway for equality & representing the freedom to travel for all humankind!
The US Inscription Reads: “Children of a Common Mother” and the Canadian Side Says: “Brethren Dwelling Together in Unity”. May these Gates never be Closed!
And may the flags of both Countries forever fly high on the Arch’s Crown…”
I am lucky enough to be talking to these two road warriors again. To kick off the digital version brand of an old vision that we three and many many more warriors dreamed.
stay tuned to hear the stories on http://www.artrouteradio.com …coming soon
Life is a painted highway and the people are the music and the songs.