Chalk muralist Ed Krell frequently depicts the Hoopers Island Bridge in his work. Image courtesy of Ed Krell.

Hoopers Island Grows Arts Scene with Chalk Art Festival & New Mural

Hoopers Island is known for sport fishing, crabbing, sea glass, and as the home of Phillips Seafood. This weekend, add “chalk festival” to the list of reasons to visit the island. On Nov. 5 and 6, The First Hoopers Island Chalk Arts Festival takes place. Sponsored by the Dorchester Center for the Arts (DCA), and vacation rental owner Kellie Ellis-Neal, the first-time event was inspired by Hoopers Island chalk artist Ed Krell.

When Krell’s mural “Bungalow Wings” went up on the side of a local building owned by Ellis-Neal, his work depicting life on Hoopers Island earned powerful support from the community and visitors. DCA discovered Krell when an advocate of his art insisted, ““You’ve got to see this guy’s work!”

DCA signed on to exhibit Krell’s “The Story of 81,” a tribute to a friend who struggled with schizophrenia and later lost his life to the illness. (To respect his friend’s privacy, Krell replaces his name with the number 81). In keeping with the DCA mission to bring artists in and take art out into the community, the chalk festival was born. Titled “Making Big Waves: Creating Healing Waves one Chalk Line at a Time” the two-day festival is dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues.

Krell says, “The chalk art festival is very dear to me because it’s in honor of 81. It was kind of the reason why I started doing art for mental health awareness. Sometimes you get a chance to do something really good for a bunch of people and I’m going to take great care in making sure that I can make art that will communicate. You can help using art and to me that’s just such a blessing.”

Lori Antoinette of the Chalk Mafia shows off her work. Courtesy photo.

Hoopers Island First Chalk Festival brings chalk artists from around the country to the island community for two days of demonstrations, workshops, and inspiration. Joining Ed Krell will be Lori Antoinette, leader of the Chalk Mafia chalk art collective. Antoinette, originally from Baltimore, will lead workshops on both days, with half a dozen other artists also on hand. Lee Reece, a Hoopers Island artist, will lead a comic drawing workshop. If you’ve ever imagined yourself as a comic book character, this is the chance to put yourself on paper.

Rain or shine, the two days will be packed with activity. Unlike sidewalk or small-scale chalk art, festival artists create their work on  8’x8’ boards. The DCA invites visitors to “come on Saturday morning to see how it all begins and circle back on Sunday to be amazed by the finished product.” Unlike other chalk art methods, these pieces will be preserved for an upcoming January exhibit to highlight mental health awareness.

In keeping with DCA’s mission of community art and representation, local artisans and food vendors will be selling food and gifts. Shop with Kayla Allen (plein air paintings and prints); Shark Sauce hot sauce; Soulhuntress, (psychic, tarot, and energy readings);  Ink and Annie (driftwood art); Ellis-Neal (home goods); Ned Egan Photography; Ashley Keith (paintings and handmade polymer clay jewelry) and pillows by FarmerCharsDesigns. The nonprofit For All Seasons Mental Health Services will be there with Spanish-speaking staff available. Enjoy music at the mural by Marianne Styles, Jon Jacobs, KC Stengl, Makayla Falkner, and The Brookletts, a high school band from Easton. Enjoy good, local food from Taqueria Florita, and Chubbs BBQ.

Come to the Chalk Festival and enjoy the two-day event that brings art, community, and awareness together at The Mural at  1123 Ballpark Rd., Fishing Creek, Md. 11-4 pm in Hooper’s Island.

Find more information on the Festival and its participants at the Hoopers Island First Chalk Art Festival website.

-Niambi Davis