Seeds of Hope

The picture that I have attached to this blog is the image that made me reach out to photographer and teaching artist, Lana O’Brian. The photo is an incredible piece of time travel. It was so inspiring to then discover Lana was creating a play about the issue around the historic internment issue of British Columbia, and of Canada. The little known story of Austro European people’s internment in Canada is part of my own family history. The play that Lana and her Seaton students have created uses a multi faceted digital lens to share the story in a unique online theatrical experience.

My family has a shared trauma past. I watched the musicians in my Baba and Guido’s house play the various fiddles and mandolins, and the music filled the air. The music and the aroma of rich Ukrainian food, like buttery mingled musical breezes. But there was always the other side too. The hidden hurt, anger and shame. I did not understand it. The loud words and broken English stories, tears and fist banging. I knew the stories my mom would tell us, but they seemed long ago to a small child. Under the kitchen table watching up from the wheat Baba would put under the table, I was curious, and sometimes afraid.

Now I know the side that was dark. The very place that invited them to come, asked them to be part of new Canada, fooled them. The families that came with open hearts were treated unjustly, like criminals, put in prison, made to work like slaves and called enemy aliens. This is my history.

The infrastructure of Canada was built on the backs of many new Canadians, my family, many families. I was shocked to learn this. I discovered this while researching mural history in Vernon. Now many say this was in the past, and should be left there. I disagree with my red boots on the ground firmly. The war measure act is in our conversation today. We today know slightly what loss of freedom feels like. But think, only slightly.

These people lost all their freedoms, and all their property and most importantly all their rights. In these times we are seeing the best, and the worst in people. The bullying and greed in systems that were put in place to protect us are coming to light. The veil is open. But through it all we have created a trail of sunflowers, of art and of hope.

The photo here in this blog was created by Lana, the story was created 100 years ago. The photo takes place in a high school. The exact spot of an internment camp with children in it 100 years ago. This is so poignant it makes my heart hurt.

The play that Lana and her company has created is shining light on that story. My mom got to share her stories and the stories of her pain. I will be with my mom as we watch this play together remotely. Her golden years again hit with internment, but with the light and resilience of the sunflowers that have inspired the Sunflower Project and the seeds of hope that we know better and as Canadians do better.

Thank you Lana, Thank you Pat Kozler, and thank you to my resilient fore fathers and mothers for their sacrifice for Canadians.

So get ready to plant your sunflowers, and watch the film “Seeds of Hope’.

ART ROUTE RADIO ARTIST Michelle Loughery ArtistWayfindingNetwork Destination Mural Town Master Artist Series MURALS Take it to the wall

NEW EPISODE-Creating light with Artist Heidi Thompson

Climb my digital scaffolding and join Artist Heidi Thompson and myself and we talk about creating light in the time of covid.  Heidi is an accomplished global artist from the Okanagan. It was inspiring to find our similarities as we enjoyed creative conversation and talking about mud puddles.

“My aim is to capture beauty – not by painting a landscape as I know it with trees, mountains, clouds or sunsets; rather by painting the essence of nature using her elements of colour, light, patterns, texture, movement and space.” – Artist Heidi Thompson.

#artrouteradio #artistmichelleloughery #takeittothewall #heidithompson #art #artrouteblue #artistsgonewild #artistwayfindingnetwork



As 2021 has made everyone U-Turn and find new ways to bring light and connection, my path is to finally do something with all the stories I have collected over the years. The digital wall will provide the same sense of place and belonging that the actual scaffolding and walls did for so many, for so long.

I hope to shine the light on to the stories and work of the many creative artists I am proud to call my friends, and the many youth and heroes I met in my mural globe trotting decades. So see the radio, and hear the art from around the globe. In times like this we can count on the radio to entertain us and to connect us to each other and ourselves. In the next weeks we will be releasing the episodes that we have been learning how to do. We had a huge new learning curve. The sound was a hard one for me to figure out because I had to learn to be quiet and listen. Now if you know me at all, you will be laughing at this point.

We have figured out some new equipment to work remotely, especially challenging with seniors.

“Take it to the Wall” on AR:T ROUTE RADIO…lets shine light on many things on the digital scaffolding that was a place of healing for so many years. Help me support artists as we navigate these times. And lets encourage seniors to share their wisdom. After all there will always be the radio!

ARTIST Michelle Loughery Michelle Loughery Art STUDIO ART

Loughery’s Bold Work

Experiencing the projects behind Michelle Loughery’s Bold Murals & Artwork

BC Based artist Michelle Loughery’s work stretches from massive mural portraiture to multi layered evocative, abstract 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.


I will not draw in Math Class with Roy Henry Vickers

Grab a coffee, climb the digital scaffolding and spend time with Master Artists Roy and Michelle ART ROUTE RADIO

Destination Digital studios in the time of Covid -Master Artist Series with Host Michelle Loughery

Taking art to the wall and may other conversations.

Art In the time of Covid with Master Artist Michelle Loughery and special guest artist Henry Roy Vickers. 

Michelle and Master Artist Roy Henry Vickers have a digital coffee conversation about the importance of art in the healing of the world after Covid.  Listening to our ancestors will help create a path of healing and connection.

“A pipe carrier walks in the ways of the four directions, which are common to all nations in the world: teacher, healer, visionary and leader,” says Roy. “We always have the pipe in our minds so that when we get into situations where we feel like we’re off kilter or off centre or, we can always go back to this place of peace and centre ourselves, ask the creator to help us be who we are.” RHV


“I will draw in any class…” RHV