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ArtWalk brings art, business communities together downtown

May 15, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • Morgan Ballard creates "Butterfly" Saturday on the sidewalk in front of Elevations Salon on North Potomac Street in Hagerstown as part of the downtown ArtWalk festival.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN -- Morgan Ballard finally had the chance to create a butterfly in downtown Hagerstown on Saturday.

For ArtWalk 2010, the illustrator for the Cato Institute's Regulation magazine chalked a colorful drawing of a butterfly on the sidewalk outside Elevations Salon on Potomac Street.

"I thought it would be appropriate ..." Ballard said as he put the finishing touches on the drawing.

Though it appeared to be practically finished, Ballard said "a sense of peace" would be the inner signal that his work was complete after spending more than an hour drawing it.

In its second year, ArtWalk aims to unite artists with the business community. About 25 downtown shops and restaurants participated in Saturday's event.

Outside the Contemporary School of the Arts & Gallery on West Franklin Street, artists Taurean Washington and Michael Schultze of Frederick, Md., displayed paintings titled "Cosmic Mother" and "Sugar Daddy," among several other works.

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Until earlier this year, Schultze, 21, said he kind of kept his art to himself and credited Washington for convincing him to join an artists collective and publicly show his work.

Washington said he sold his first work, two drawings, when he was 15, and painted murals at his high school.

"I knew this was something I was meant to do," said Washington, who began showing his work in 2006. "My goal is to make 100 new paintings this year."

Washington said he was a bit nervous about showing "Sugar Daddy," a candy-themed portrayal of prostitution in an urban setting.

"I didn't know what people would think," Washington said.

Amy Shirley, an artist from Big Pool who was painting a small knickknack shelf outside of By Grace, a furniture and crafts shop, said she enjoys making "something out of nothing."

"It's nice to make things that turn out pretty," Shirley said.

At the Washington County Arts Council, John Simpson was working on his 64th hand-hewn wood bowl since he learned age-old techniques about two years ago.

"It's labor intensive," Simpson said.

The 63-year-old Vietnam War veteran said he wanted to learn an art that few people knew how to do and needed something to do in retirement after 40 years of military service.

"You can't buy the tools because nobody's doing this," Simpson said.

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