found in the internet ... The King arrives in Merritt
The King arrives in Merritt
By Heather Thomson / Sep 12 2007
The King of Rock 'n Roll has a new home in Merritt.
For almost a month master muralist Michelle Loughery has been working on her newest mural – one of the King.
"He's the most recognizable icon of country music," Loughery explains. "He was discovered by Hank Snow and country music was a catalyst to his rock and roll days."
Elvis fan club members (right to left) Myrna Jones, Dolly Jackson and Millie Walter and master muralist Michelle Loughery (left) show off the nearly-completed Elvis mural at the Merritt Desert Inn.
The Merritt BC Elvis Presley Fan Club was the first in the province to be recognized, approved and registered with Elvis Presley Enterprises. Now the club has another first to its name. Never before has Graceland approved a mural of the King. President of the club, Dolly Jackson believes the mural on the side of the Desert Inn will attract Elvis fans from around the world. "That's special," Jackson says, pointing to the 20 foot mural of Elvis. "Not only to tourism in Merritt, but also to our club and his fans."
She adds that having an Elvis mural in the Country Music Capital of Canada is fitting. Elvis was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988, country music's highest honour. He is also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986) and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2001).
Loughery says there are many murals and paintings of Elvis in cities around the world, but the fact that this one is sanctioned by Graceland is extremely important.
"They've given us permission so that means we'll be on their site," Loughery says. "Elvis fans will see that and flock to see this mural."
She adds that painting the mural this year has special meaning because it is the 30th anniversary of his death and it has been 50 years since he performed in British Columbia.
The original idea for the mural came from a late night conversation between Loughery and Jackson. Loughery was painting the mural of Tanya Tucker when Jackson came by and talked about the Elvis fan club. Almost immediately the pair started brainstorming about an Elvis mural as it was something they both considered to be essential in the Country Music Capital of Canada. From its early start in 2005 the idea began to grow. It was Jackson's persistence and passion that finally got it past the approval stage.
Once it was in Loughery's hands the mural started to take shape. She says it depicts Elvis in his late 20s after he had achieved a lot of success and recognition in the music industry. In the mural he is looking down on a pink Cadillac that represents the start of his career, as he promised his mother a pink Caddy when he could afford one. In 1955 she got her car, although she never drove it. Through the years Elvis owned a lot of cars, but the pink Cadillac was the only one he would never sell.
"I am happy it includes the pink Cadillac," Jackson says. "It makes the mural extra special."
In designing the mural, Loughery spent many nights researching the life of Elvis. During that time she came to understand what a truly amazing individual the King was while he was alive. She believes in his younger years Elvis would have been considered an at risk youth. That makes all of his accomplishments all the more amazing and makes him more of an icon and role model to the youth involved in the youth project and other young people in the community.
"They can look at what he accomplished and realize that nothing is out of their reach," she says.
source: merritt herald