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!
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
The day I saw the murals started to be painted in my small rural town, I was struck by magic. As a child, community renewal was how you lived. Mine disasters have a way of weaving into your community lives as much as the coal dust weaves into your skin like abstract tattoos. I am proud of the coal in my knees.
Pushing art as a rural community plan is not for the faint of heart. The word art seems to hold a bubble around it like it is what you do in the good economic times. This is so not true. It is life. It is our economic and social structure. It is the creation and continual recreation of us all in a connected community plan. Is the patriarchal brain washed governments that hold the purse strings not understand that art is life and how every thing from highways to tourism is based on the very skills art is. ART is math, is science is nature is life.
Is this perceived as a feminine skill made to wear the right coloured apron that places the painting above the sofa that you smoke your pipe on after the suits decide what bridge gets built.
Well it is not. Our indigenous and immigrant stories are about community building, nature preserving, and people caring. This is the worlds infrastructure. Yet the bruises on my soul of the bullying that can happen by working to bring the bridge of our tax money to the very people that are the builders of community is something I will never understand. Joan of Art or Robin hood.
If the walls could talk..here they will as I reminisce about the faces and places and projects that allowed my brush to dance.
The indigo lines that connect the people and the places that I have been blessed to visit or be involved with. The stories are moments. Snippets. #stories that move my soul and sometimes make me shake my head in sadness, or look up to the blue sky in joy.
A dark night, the wall still warm from the long day of sun beating down. I turn as a voice climbs up the back of my neck. “Hello Lady.” I turn, chilled as suddenly as a winter wind that hits you in the East Kootenay winter. I see a face, gnarled with life and worn with mask like accuracy.
“Why are you painting? what are you doing here? the face asks. I answer in a calm but sing song manner, “well just painting a mural, one that is a part of helping youth find their way.” I say. My heart not so calm, and my thoughts of why I stayed so late come pounding into my head. The nights are cool, so the temptation to stay until the night is always so strong. Good friends usually stop by with coffee, and the youth sometimes come by to hang out and talk. The night is a good time to tell troubles and share coffee and music. It is the time when youth are without a place to go. The tailgate of my truck and the paint splattered kettle always ready to plug in for tea and hot chocolate and a hug.
In full spidy awareness, I tell the man, oh I am just cleaning up and I am all done for the night. “I am meeting friends for a late dinner at the hotel, and must go.” The man as most people will do when they meet the wall, starts a confession. “Well you know, I just got out of jail you know, I murdered someone, but I did my time!” I look into his hollow eyes and am speechless. Picking up my paints, I murmur, that must have been hard for you, that time.” As I walk to the building where the project was, and where I store my paints, I am startled by the man taking my tupperware container full of paints from me.
“Let me carry them he says.” I walk into the project building behind him, not knowing if it is safer to stay outside with him in the alley, or to let him put the paints into the building. I thank him. He looks at me for a long moment. He then says “It is a good thing what you do with those kids.” He walks past me standing in the doorway, tips his ball cap and walks into the night. My heart in my throat, I lock the door, and run to my truck in the dark alley. The night has stayed with me in my thoughts. The wall is a place that so many people have stopped by. But this face and the night a stranger carried my paints, has stayed with me. Not with the fear I felt, but with the question of what may have helped this man, when he was but a youth.
As summer is moving into fall it is time for me to reflect on the seeds 4 tomorrow campaign. It was an amazing thing to watch so many people come together in hope of connection and renewal. Covid has been very hard on all of us, yet somehow the giant flowers and the earnest way we all nourished them and hoped to see the seeds blossom into the giant beauties they are.
well …many times this summer I needed to talk to the sunflowers. Every time I watered them and made sure they were supported, I thought of all of those that came together to unite us all.
As the giant flowers grace all our back yards, highways and fields may we all know that the simple gesture of planting a seed of hope can make the changes we so ache for. We are all connected to each other and a huge thank you for the over 300,000 seeds that were planted. Imagine if we see, hear and believe….#blossomBC we did and a movement of flower power has begun…..#THESUNFOWERPARTY the collaboration of us all to a strong recovery of people place and planet…thank you sunflowers…
As an artist there is a responsibility to speak of the times, challenge the status quo and to bring your art to a greater good.
There is a time to be quiet and a time to speak. In these times we must adapt and use the skills and talent given to us to pave a new road. In my career I have managed multimillion dollar budgets and worked with politicians and celebrities.
But if I was to die of Covid tomorrow it would be the people of my projects that I would miss. The artists, the underdogs, the non profits, the youth and the elders, and the small businesses that graced me and my crazy projects with their support and love. Like the sunflower we are all connected. We have strong roots and glorious faces. Faces of hope. I come from good stalk! The projects that were graced to me left seeds of youth to reseed around the globe. But most of all were the conversations and a place of home. Art is a place of home. So join us as we challenge all of BC to plant sunflowers in honour of anyone who has lost a freedom, felt left out, or wanted a voice. May we all plant a sunflower for those that came before, and those that will come behind these times. Surprise the world with fields of sunflowers, or a single stalk standing proud alone. We are all connected in these times. We are all part of this natural progression and we will all leave seeds of Hope. #artroutegold #blossomBC #thesunflowerproject #artistmichelleloughery #exploreBC #exploregoldcountry