Caetani mural hits home for artist

Living in Caetani House, the home of late, legendary Vernon artist Sveva Caetani, was an unbelievable experience for renowned mural artist Michelle Loughery.

Lead artist Michelle Loughery (centre) receives support from artists Brenda Ellis and her son Brandon Loughery while unveiling the Caetani mural downtown Friday.

Lead artist Michelle Loughery (centre) receives support from artists Brenda Ellis and her son Brandon Loughery while unveiling the Caetani mural downtown Friday.

Living in Caetani House, the home of late, legendary Vernon artist Sveva Caetani, was an unbelievable experience for renowned mural artist Michelle Loughery.

During the time she and her daughter lived in the house, Loughery felt she became part of the history, part of the house and part of the local arts community.

So painting a mural about Sveva Caetani was something Loughery wanted to do for a long time.

With her son, Brandon, and seven others joining her on the scaffolds, Loughery created The Captive Artist, a mural tribute to Caetani which shows the artist with her parents, as well as Caetani painting in her yard.

Loughery’s latest mural, the 26th in downtown Vernon, was officially unveiled Friday.

The mural graces the west side of a building owned by Rob Culos at 3006-32nd Avenue.

“It was an absolute honour to paint a tribute to such a dedicated soul as Sveva Caetani,” said Loughery at the unveiling attended by close to 50 people.

“The mural was painted from a place of love, love of the arts, love of great women who teach us to sing, paint and dance, and a love of family and community.”

With her son by her side during the unveiling, Loughery revealed that the mural was created during October and November 2010, a time in which her father passed away.

“This mural was also a place of healing,” said Loughery, fighting back tears. “I will carry this mural with me always.”

The Captive Artist mural celebrates the life of Caetani, who learned, as a young girl, to paint at the hand of a European master. But after the death of her father, her aristocratic mother subjected Sveva to virtual imprisonment at their home.

When her mother died, Caetani returned to her art with a passion, and created her most memorable works.

The mural project was initiated by the Downtown Vernon Association to bring its mural collection, which started in 1998, back to the 27 murals it reached at its peak in 2005. Two previous murals have been lost due to building renovations.

“The DVA mural program has been a tremendous asset to the community,” said Ruth Hoyte, DVA president.

“We are very proud of the work done by our world-class artist, Michelle, for making such a beautiful mural.”

Mayor Wayne Lippert said the murals have become a proud tradition for the city.

“The murals look back at our history and blend into the theme the DVA has with its historical downtown Vernon concept,” said Lippert.

Culos is thrilled with the mural on his building.

“Michelle’s done another beautiful job,” said Culos. “We’re very proud to be part of this community and support this initiative.”

DVA executive director Earl Hansen says his group is looking at another mural project this year, although the details are still being finalized.

“We are exploring other possibilities to take the mural program to the next level,” he said.

“We have a lovely mural program but there are some other things we might be able to do to make it even more appealing, and more of a draw for visitors.”