Summer mural tours have officially started in Vernon.
Tours are a partnership between the Vernon Museum and the Downtown Vernon Association and run from June to September. Gabriel Newman is the public education coordinator for the Vernon Museum. He said he started by giving ghost tours of Vernon and eventually took over as the city’s mural tour guide.
“As someone who moved here, (it) really expanded my knowledge of this place,” said Newman. “I do this as a way of sharing that fascination and interest in my own community. I just try to offer what I would want if I came to Vernon.”
It all started back in 1999 when local artist Michelle Loughery approached the Downtown Vernon Association with the idea. The DVA hired local students to paint as part of an initiative to help artistic teens who were struggling academically.
Loughery’s plan was a success. The group painted 13 murals the first year. More have been commissioned since and many of the students achieved success in the art world. Newman said that some became teachers, others became artists and some started their own mural businesses. He said they have become a staple of the city.
“One of the wonderful things about living in Vernon are these murals,” said Newman. “The focus is education and outreach and having people appreciate the community and the many stories here.”
According to Newman, there are currently 30 murals around the city. He said that everyone is welcome to attend tours and encourages locals to learn more about the city’s history through this opportunity.
“It’s funny how you don’t always see things in your own town,” said Newman. “There’s a few murals that I’d say probably half of the people who live in Vernon have never seen before.”
Tours are offered every Tuesday and Friday at 9 a.m. Tickets are $5.
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