The mission of ROUTE BLUE Wayfinder is to educate, empower and inspire youth through the arts.
MLA believes that art is integral to a thriving community life, and is a safe platform for risk-taking and creative expression. Connects disadvantaged youth with consistent, encouraging mentors and role models through art programs emphasizing community development, academic achievement, and their own positive futures.
Since 1994, young artists have researched, planned, and installed a public art legacy of 300 murals, and videos. Along the way we have served thousands of students and dozens of communities, through , art projects, outreach, and community events.
In 2017, Route Blue Wayfinder served 500 youth and reached over 1000 community members through innovative arts projects, ocean debris exhibits, murals, song, and exhibits
ROUTE BLUE WAYFINDER YOUTH programs support fulfillment of public and private art commissions.
Wayfinder Route Blue Project also achieves the following outcomes:
Gives artistic youth and emerging artists an opportunity to gain professional art experience and to create their portfolios and résumés
Generates revenue that helps sustain artists through fulfillment of income-generating art commissions
Retains skilled, professional artists to ensure high quality artwork, and develops youth skills in art and business
Talented youth are recruited to assist in the fulfillment of art commissions in this advanced art program. To date we have created over 300 murals and engaged over 5000 youth.
Why it attracts youth like flies!
The youth are placed in a work An 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 becomes a sanctuary of safety and acceptance for many. The program provides volunteer opportunities for other youth-at-risk to join; and they do..
Loughery Artworks WAYFINDER Community Education Programs are available with lesson plans and downloadable mural kits for teachers at the community level to use the murals as education tools to inspire and encourage learning through community art in their classrooms. New Immigrant art celebration inclusive programming is also a key component of The Sunflower Project. Looking at the planet as a whole community, we aim to bring together all nations. With British Columbia as the home base, we hope to help youth to promote a multicultural quilt of culture at the heart of Canadian identity.
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 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:
- Public Safety and Access to Justice
- Mental and Physical Health
- Urban and Community Renewal
- Economic Development and Social Enterprise
- New Technologies and Social Change
- Cultural Institutions and Community Integration
- Diversity and Social Inclusion
- Democratic Participation Voice and Identity