“Two days of magic and creativity:” Inaugural Hoopers Island Chalk Arts Festival makes bold mark, brings awareness to mental health – 47abc

HOOPERS ISLAND, Md.- “You don’t realize the beauty of an island in Dorchester County. They stop at the Blackwater Shelter or the beautiful Harriet Tubman Museum. If you go down a couple more miles, you’ll see a lot more art and culture,” said Kelly Ellis-Neal, owner of the bungalow.

The power of chalk brought new meaning to art in Dorchester County, as the inaugural Hoopers Island Chalk Arts Festival made a bold statement.

The event included many local vendors, food, and live entertainment sponsored by the Dorchester Center for the Arts and the Bungalow. “The interesting thing about this festival is that people don’t just come to see things made on the wall, they come and see two days of magic and creativity in front of their eyes”, Dorchester Center for the Arts Melissa Cooperman, community arts coordinator, said.

6 artists from across the country used the medium to make colorful masterpieces.

We caught up with Lori Antoinette from Los Angeles, California, who started the Chalk Mafia group. She says that festivals like this are growing in popularity and originated in Europe. “It’s supposed to be just a temporary art form. It’s actually a performance art, so it’s about coming to see the artist do it,” Antoinette said.

“Like when people walk by and feel happy, that’s the story. That’s the only story it is. Does this make you feel good? I have done my job.

Resident artist Ed Krell was in charge of ‘The Mural’ on the grounds of the Bungalow on Hoppers Island.

He says the event was also held to raise awareness of mental health issues, as he lost his close friend 81st in that battle. “He struggled with a lot of things and people thought he was just out there. It was really because he was mentally ill and no one knew how to communicate with him,” Krell said.

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“Just like a balloon on a string. If you drop that balloon, you won’t be able to get it back. That’s how we are as humans. You have to have someone to hold you.”

The work doesn’t stop at this festival though, as those we spoke to say that art has a purpose that is bigger than oneself. “We’re using art to create awareness and a platform so we can bring art to people who need it so they can experience it,” Krell said.

Organizers say the artworks made over the weekend will go up for auction in January at the Dorchester Center for the Arts.

We were told that the goal is also to make the event bigger and better again next year.

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