What we do!

staff meeting
From the Street to the Viewer!

A signature Michelle Loughery Community Mural. A public art collaboration program where schools and community groups contract with Wayfinder to develop a public art project that reflect their mission.

TAKE IT TO THE WALL-Art in action in your community or school


Wayfinder combines the art of community based mural creation with the valuable life and employability – trade skills that assist with removing many of the barriers faced by youth at risk. By removing these barriers, Wayfinder has been able to assist communities with drastic reduction in public property crimes in areas where the program operates, an increase in community bridging between youth at risk and community members and an 80% rate of success in program participants returning back to school and/or becoming gainfully employed. However it is the secondary benefits of Wayfinder that makes it significantly different from other art based intervention programs. While Wayfinder provides communities with the economic benefits associate with working with local youth at risk, the program also provides communities with the valuable resources and tools necessary to develop or enhance long term economic development and diversification through a proven cultural tourism initiative. Over the past 25 years Loughery Wayfinder Projects have helped communities raise  millions of dollars for communities while at the same time helping to reduce youth poverty by providing local youth with the skills to achieve their dreams!

This innovative project identifies and trains youth leaders in a constructive dialogue and visioning process, and in the design and implementation of a large-scale community mural projects. Students participate in community assessments and documentation (including blogging), and in the actual visioning and painting processes as well. The result is a stunning work of art and visual reminder of the ongoing efforts and commitment of youth leaders working toward sustainable, social, environmental and economic development in their communities.



The Wayfinder Program accomplishes its mission through five main objectives:

• Work with communities to create murals that reflect and depict the culture and history or vision of those for which they are created.

• Develop long-term, sustainable collaborations with communities that engage partners in a visioning and design process (the mural process).

• Promote understanding of visual art through educational programming for children and youth, foster youth development through art, and provide mentorship opportunities for at-risk students through exposure to professional muralists and community resources.

• Use murals and the mural process as a tool of community engagement, urban renewal, art and culture promotion, safety, blight remediation, beautification strategy, and demonstration of civic pride and youth education, social change and voice.

• Generate professional development opportunities for artists who are committed to working collaboratively in communities to create murals and visual art education projects.

Arts funding is usually first to be hit by economic downturns. The employment-skills based program builds the human capacity on multiple levels, sustaining many mandates and allowing arts development to happen organically.


The purpose of the “Take it to the Wall “ Wayfinder Mural Project is to creatively mobilize a core group of youth to become an effective force for social change in communities struggling with racial and generational discrimination, substance abuse, violence, and social exclusion.

We use experienced mentors, peer learning, community service, and employment and trade skills to give youth an opportunity to become leaders and role models. Our programs further develop students into youth facilitators with the skills, self-confidence, and community trust to engage themselves with their peers in ways that will continue to serve the community and Canada.

A Large Global Campaign for youth and communities to have their say about issues that face them by using art as a form of communication and community engagement.
Community youth based art mural projects engage young and old in a multi-generational program that allows all the voices to be heard.

Youth find murals and public art a particularly powerful form of expression because of their large scale, public location, and relation to graffiti and street culture.

 TAKE IT TO THE WALL is a phrase we use on the wall, when a youth is having a bad day, or has some issues to deal with…”we take it to the wall”. We take it out on the wall. We put our pain, our passion and a part of our lives in the wall.

This wall provides a safe place where everyone is equal and only the blank canvas is before you.

WAYFINDER Project Community Partner Guide
Wayfinder Programs foster collaboration, critical thinking and using creativity as a social tool.

image001Leading youth through understanding public art in historic context and the basics of mural making (theme, color, composition, design, technique). Youth work collaboratively in researching, designing and fabricating a polished final product. Themes may be based on curriculum or identified by the school or community.

Experience Working with Community Partners
Partnerships have included: City Of Vernon, The Downtown Vernon Association, The City of Merritt, Merritt Walk of Stars, Viva Cuba Route 66 Mural City, Golden BC Art Council, BC Government, National Crime Prevention of Canada, County Music Capitol of Canada, BC Arts Council, First Nation Steering Committee, SFU, UBC, Surrey School District,


 THE WAYFINDER PROJECT has brought youth, artists, grassroots organizations and communities in partnership to create high-quality works of public art across the globe. The Wayfinder Project is the concept developed by Michelle Loughery based on her experiences growing up in rural Canada.

Loughery’s work inspires youth,communities and artists to actually use art as a tool for change through our employment and trades mentorship programs.

Loughery is dedicated to preserving, teaching and advancing the study and practice of public art. Each week, up to five new community organizations, schools and hospitals contact us requesting assistance to use art as a tool to raise awareness, bring people together, celebrate community histories and re-image and engage community spaces they deem important. Since 1995, Michelle has collaborated with more than 60 community organizations globally to do just that.

The Programs

Apprenticeship Artist Program . A job training program for artists.

Youth Leadership Mural Program where youth create public art for community-based organizations with professional Art Mentorship

CONSULTING|Make the Most of Your Mural Project Ideas: Are your goals to beautify the neighborhood? Bring attention to a specific issue? Strengthen cross- cultural connections? Raise your organizational profile? Youth development? We will help you explore the many ways the project could meet your organizations needs and tailor the project to those needs.