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Money for mural on city's agenda

Michelle Loughery
Image Credit: Submitted

Update: Dec. 11 - 1 p.m.

City councillors resolved to give a Vernon artist half the funds they were asked to contribute for a new mural on the Sutton building downtown at yesterday's meeting. 

"They asked for over $20,000," said Coun. Lord. "We're just being very careful."

The Finance Committee recommended the city give $10,000 to artist Michelle Loughery to use in the "Sunflower Project" a story of Canada's First World War internment camps told through murals. 

"They will be required to make up the difference," said Coun. Patrick Nicol. 

Dec. 10 - 2:09 p.m.

Vernon artist Michelle Loughery is raising funds for a new downtown mural, and council will decide today whether or not the city will contribute. 

Loughery is the muralist behind the numerous images brightening up Vernon's downtown buildings. Her latest concept—World War One Internment Camps—are a dark part of Vernon's history that Loughery wants to shed some light upon. 
Between 1914 and 1920, thousands of Canadians of Ukranian and Eastern European ancestry were imprisoned in internment camps in Canada. One such camp was located where Vernon's W.L. Seaton highschool now sits. 
"They were invited. They came here for freedom. But they didn't get that," says Loughery, who will work an image of Canada's official invitation into the mural.  
Loughery will work from many original documents, including a photograph of two young boys sitting in the Vernon camp.
"It's a hard story to tell. People died," says Loughery, adding that it's an emotional experience to paint real people. 
"There's a story of a man who had his hand cut off and was put in a camp because he stole a piece of bread," says Loughery, who is well-versed in the area's local history. 
"By telling the story, we will prevent it from happening again," she says. 
Loughery secured funding with other partners in the project, but hopes Vernon will come on board as well. 
"I want the project to start here in Vernon," says Loughery of the Canada-wide initiative. Loughery will paint numerous murals across canada, including one in Ottawa. The murals will tell a national story through local histories. 
Vernon council decided Nov. 26 to refer Loughery's proposal to the Finance Committee, who recommend the town approve $10,000 for the project. 
Councillors will meet today at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the Finance Committee's recommendation. The funds would be drawn from the Arts and Culture Reserve. Councillors have expressed that funding will only be granted if a suitable legal arrangement with a Copyright License in favour of the City and the Downtown Vernon Association is reached. 
Loughery hopes to get started in January, if the project's financial situation is in order. 
—Charlotte Helston
News from © iNFOnews, 2012

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