WAYFINDER AR:T -digital skills program


Michelle Loughery AR:T Murals-  WAYFINDER AR:T

An innovative Community employment based skills program that connects people of all ages and nationalities through art in action, partnership building strategies, that leave behind sustainable bridging to foundation trades experiences, life skills and community support. Loughery Art Murals works with community needs and an invitation to use Large Scale ART to bridge education, government, industry, community and people in a engaged community building project.

The most prevalent challenges for government and industry in regards to providing skilled training and social license are finding relevant employment for people as they progress through skills -training experiences. Wayfinder and Michelle Loughery Mural Art in Action signature programs provide these relevant grass root connection strategies that are unique in the tourism, economic and social strategy legacies that are left behind.

30 years of proven project and programming success, this unique P6 (TM) formula of inclusion and networking has helped support the creative economy industry.

Duplicated in numerous  government and educational and community systems, this visual bridging pathways program has been the catalyst for thousands of students life and career paths, numerous high impact global community infrastructure builds, generating millions of economic and social benefits, as well as many  Legacy Mural Projects around the world.

As Wayfinder and Michelle Loughery ART Murals moves forward: the programs have developed into digital story telling three dimensional murals to build national and global pathways to partnerships, skill paths, and relevant social change.

Loughery’s Murals are visual modern story telling cave drawings that preserve the past, tell the present while helping pave the way for the future. Trail blazing, brave and innovative since its inception in the early 90’s the story is really taking skills out of the box and onto the walls. People out of their boxes and onto the space between the wall and change.

The Wayfinder  program is structured on employment skills and community engagement social skills, which are the number one missing link between skilled workers and the job market. Art trade based learning and partnerships will guide students directly into skills jobs, further education or entrepreneurship. Part of this program also has students enrolled in, The, “Passport to Employment Program,” (created 2001) A Michelle Loughery Murals designed program that gives youth a life skill and employment sustainability plan to move forward to empower and sustain a healthy lifestyle. Community benefits are huge as the community murals or events created, produces a historic or culture based tool to educate, engage and create tourism destinations a “Wayfinding” senses of place. Social media provides a story collecting and telling program that creates online dialogue murals that inspires national and international exchange and cross cultural learning.

The overall purpose of this program is to take youth-at-risk and to help them develop the job and life skills that they require to take control over their future.

The program has been successfully duplicated in every community Michelle has worked in.  The main reason that this project is successful is that participants are not placed in classic learning situations where there is generally only one set way of doing things. For many youth-at-risk, the standardized or institutionalized methods of learning are very threatening.

Why the Program is Successful:

The youth learn basic job/work expectations ie. to show up on time and to work each day; language, dress and behavioural expectations etc.
The youth learn self appreciation through completing tasks that are acknowledged and rewarded
The youth learn to set personal goals and how to work to achieve those goals successfully
The youth learn to work as part of a team – they learn that in order for a team to be successful it is important to lead, and at other times to follow
The youth are continually mentored by a skilled and positive role model
The youth become the monitors of each others’ behaviours; rules of conduct are very important for the group, those who do not follow them are ostracized from the rest of the group until the rules are followed
The youth are placed in a work environment that allows them to find their own strengths ie. Artistic aptitude is NOT a requirement for this program – some youth will find that their strengths lie in the painting of murals; others in building of scaffolding; others in prepping walls; others in marketing and publicizing the program; others in working with children; others in working with seniors; others in public education etc. etc.
The youth are placed in public and high visibility work areas – so that the community is made aware of the changes that the youth are making inside and outside of themselves- this serves the twofold purpose of making the youth accountable to the community and the community becomes accountable to the youth who are helping to improve their city
The youth are expected to complete a number of certificate and non certificate courses that will help build self-confidence and job and life skills
The program work site and offices become a sanctuary of safety and acceptance for many.

Societal Impact:
The Wayfinder Youth-at-risk Mural Program, designed by master muralist Michelle Loughery and implemented in communities all over North America for over 30 years, is the epitome of economically viable Public Art. Although the core of the program is to work directly with displaced groups of youth-at-risk, and paint a tourism high quality piece of pubic art for the community. The program has far-reaching social and economic impacts.

The program acts as a restorative catalyst and a bridge between the youth-at-risk and the community as a whole, as it acts to increases community pride and ownership. Moreover, the community witnesses the youth-at-risk creating this revitalization, thus lowering the suspicious and negative attitudes that are often associated with these youth. Vandalism and crime tend to decrease as the peers of the youth participants, and the participants themselves, take ownership over the improvements made to the community.

Identifying social challenges in their communities, youth will develop community arts-based strategies for change, and encourage their peers to become involved in the implementation. Each community project will be overseen by a project coordinator, who will be tasked with working directly with youth, so that they can identify, plan and lead youth-driven projects that transform young lives and revitalize their communities.By taking an active role in implementing a Sunflower Project community art project, young people build capacity and a sense of community engagement. In this, the program encourages pride in aboriginal heritage, youth civic engagement, capacity building, mentorship and leadership skills. Particular attention is placed on ensuring that selected projects:


The overall purpose of this program is to take youth-at-risk and to help them develop the job and life skills that they require to take control over their future to become law abiding and contributing citizens in their community. The program has been successfully duplicated in every community Michelle has worked in.  The main reason that this project is successful is that participants are not placed in classic learning situations where there is generally only one set way of doing things. For many youth-at-risk, the standardized or institutionalized methods of learning are very threatening. Thus, although, Michelle and her administrators have high expectations for the youth, the participants are placed in an open, non-threatening environment and in situations where success is achievable. As well, the steps to learning a skill are gradual and participants are given the freedom to make mistakes and often repeat the same mistakes before success is reached.

-Support aboriginal youth wanting to improve the quality of life in their communities

-Build skills, leadership and capacity among youth participants

-Revitalize communities through the energy and initiatives of youth

-Incubate sustainable forms of youth community engagement

Encourage intergenerational connections through the power of the arts and their contribution to social change in Canada, particularly in the following areas:

Community ConsultationWayfinderARTWORKS project philosophy- Relevant needs in terms of social and economic needs. Wayfinder then transfers those needs into a viable “commodity” that provides employment and “PAID” training in skills that are transferable to other industries.

The underlying value proposition- Wayfinder project enters the communities, has dialogue within the community and includes the communities from the ground up.

AR:T Route BLUE – Digital story mural trail

A Wayfinding path forward for all cultures and
industries together as a Nation.

One reply on “WAYFINDER AR:T -digital skills program”

Hi there:
I am a professional journalist and online news site owner/publisher/editor/jack-of-all-trades (www.revelstokecurrent.com) as well as an artist and a member of our city’s Publi Art Committee. Vincent Wright suggested I contact you as he thinks you might be able to help us save an outdoor mural that is under threat from the elements as well as potential taggers. I wrote a story last month about this endangered piece of art. You can read it and view images of the mural in question at http://www.revelstokecurrent.com/2016/01/12/we-could-lose-a-piece-of-our-artistic-heritage/
If you have questions I would be very pleased to talk with you either by phone or e-mail. If you think this is a project you might be interested in I’d be very happy to pay your mileage here and back and take you for lunch.
Thanks for your kind attention.
David F. Rooney
The Revelstoke Current

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.