Wayfinder Projects


Michelle Loughery Wayfinder Program are 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 gaining essential skills and a bridge to 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.

 Leadership skills taught through the arts are what young people need most to be successful in life. Competition for jobs is fierce, and the current state of the world and economy require an ability to constantly adapt to change. Is the coming generation ready to face the realities of life after school? Education in the arts should not be reserved for the talented few, but promoted as the means for all children to develop skills in: creative thinking, confidence, problem-solving, accountability, relationship building, communication, adaptability and dreaming big.

Innovative service delivery models are needed in our schools to help at-risk youth, and to ameliorate family dysfunction so that children have an increased potential to learn. Our online learning offers connection to community-based agencies that provide prevention and intervention services. The mechanism of the safety of the wall and the sense of place in the community that is developed to form and implement these partnerships is youth driven and unique.

Societal Impact:
The Youth-at-risk Mural Program, designed by master muralist Michelle Loughery and implemented in communities all over North America for over 25 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, by assisting them in gaining the job and life skills that they require, the program has far-reaching social and economic impacts.Socially, 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.

The signature Michelle Loughery Wayfinder Project combines the art of community based mural creation with the valuable life and employability skills that assist with removing many of the barriers faced by youth at risk. By removing these barriers, the Wayfinder Project 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 the Wayfinder Project that makes it significantly different from other art based intervention programs. While the Wayfinder Project 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 the Wayfinder Project has helped communities raise and save millions of dollars while at the same time helping to reduce youth poverty by providing local youth with the skills to achieve their dreams!

IMG_6499_2_2This 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.

Wayfinder ARTsLearning is brought to life through our charity Loughery Mural Artworks Foundation, a non profit formed in partnership with the BC government to create a provincial BC Highways art project in 2009.

Artists and key education partners, trades people, community art educators and youth partners work collaboratively in a on the wall instead of in the walls setting. Since inception in 1996, nearly 5000 youth have been positively influenced through our community art projects. Many have put to use their new creative confidence by returning to school, creating creative businesses, or gaining employment or apprenticeships in many trade areas. Many have successfully dealt with family and addiction issues and have gone into their futures with better life and creative success plans.

Using community art as a funnel for youth to combine academic and vocational education paths into one.

The youth projects have been the catalyst for over 50 million dollars in economic development over the last 20 years.

The additional tourism and economic spinoffs of many of the projects has exceeded that by millions. Community art is the umbrella for which Master trades that youth may not have considered can be experienced while being part of an art change making community Art Action part of the lifelong learning experience.


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

Community youth based art mural projects engage young and old in a multi-generational program that allows all the voices to be heard. 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 “Take it to the Wall” Project Community Partner Guide
Loughery Mural Artworks is a nationally recognized charity that engages youth to create professional quality public art pertinent to their community. Wayfnder programs foster collaboration, critical thinking and using creativity as a social tool.
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 Government of Canada, First Nation Educational Steering Committee, BC ARTS Council, CDIT, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, CCMA Award Show.

Community Projects

For more information visit us at http://www.michelleloughery.org

WAYFINDER- At a glance

WAYFINDER  has brought youth, artists, grassroots organizations and communities in partnership to create over 150 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. Not your everyday Murals. These unique pieces of Street Art  inspire youth, communities and artists to actually use art as a tool for change!

Why should your community be part of the Wayfinder Project?

Each year, adolescents and young adults develop their art, leadership, and jobs skills at Wayfinder Projects.Wayfinder Mural Project 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.

Community-based Institutions

Loughery Mural Artworks is dedicated to preserving, teaching and advancing the study and practice of public art. Each week organizations, schools and hospitals contact us requesting assistance to use WAYFINDER art as a tool to raise awareness, bring people together, celebrate community histories and re-image and engage community spaces.

The Wayfinder Project provides vital opportunities for artists who want to serve their communities through the creation of community art and the development of their skills as mentors and role models for youth. Socially conscious artists approach us regularly to lead, assist or volunteer in our programs. Past youth participants have opportunities to become paid assistants or lead their own mural projects.

The Programs

Make the most of your MURAL PROJECTS: 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 and  convert the planning process into a community building opportunity.

Recruit & Engage: Wayfinder will also work with you to recruiting, engage and retain genuine community participation, including stipends and summer pay for youth
Ensure a Safe Project: Wayfinder places a high premium on safety. We hold insurance for participants while working on projects and have high safety standards.

Emphasis on the process as well as the product. We believe the quality of the process needs to be reflected in a high quality final mural. To this end, we make sure the wall is prepared properly. We use high-quality mural paint that is made to last 25 years.

Celebrate & Document: The celebration of the mural is a great time to share with the community, press, funders and elected officials the accomplishments of the project.


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