HOCC: “I am a painter, I love to paint”

Humans of Calvert County, Sarah Merranko & Anita Santoyo

“I am a painter, I love to paint. But I teach drawing basics, art history, and painting. It just started with a friend of mine asked me five or six years ago if I would teach her daughter painting. My daughter was friends with her too so I started doing lessons for both of them. We had two other girls that joined, so it was just the four of them. And then over time, other people heard I was doing this for them, so it started to grow. Now I have a website and a Facebook site just so people can see what we are doing. It’s been amazing to see how things work out. I just keep revamping every year so I can keep offering what the kids want, including some private lessons. I have been doing this for the past five or six years, with the exception of two years ago when I took some time off.

When I wake up in the morning, God talks to me. One morning, he said, “Stop painting. Stop teaching,’ and I thought that was just crazy. Everything was going so well with the business, I had all these kids, I can’t disappoint them, but it was really weighing on me. For the next month, I kept hearing “You need to stop painting and go work with this project, which ended-up being the Echos of Hope Project.”

I had been volunteering at Project Echo once a month on Thursday with a group helping serve dinners for about four years. I had a great deal of empathy for the people I met there, and I wanted to share their hope with others. What they wanted their future to look like. So I presented my ideas to them, including how I would come in and talk to them and use what I learn to create their portraits. I don’t know how this will all work out, but I want to create enough paintings to show in some way to bring awareness to Project Echo and the work they do.

This painting I love. It is interactive, so people will be able to write “Hope” on the painting. Her story is scribbled in the background. You can’t read it, but you know it’s there. Her story was very important to her. My idea is that it will be covered in some much “HOPE” that it covers the parts of her life that has been so difficult.”

The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.

To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at davidhiggins@southernmarylandchronicle.com

Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II