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Coloring Our World

A creative soul shares her heart through her art

By Niambi Davis

Photos by Alvin Cain III

Artist Miriam Moran poses in her studio surrounded by the local heroes who inspire her creativity. Her deep sense of awareness, social justice and community led her to design and create the Black Lives Matter mural on Race Street in Cambridge.

Black Lives Matter mural on Race St. in Cambridge

Miriam Moran exudes purpose, creativity, compassion and a love for life. Through art, care for her community, justice and love for her family, Miriam’s passion is deeply felt and freely expressed.

Miriam’s family’s journey from Staten Island to the Eastern Shore of Maryland began in Puerto Rico with her grandparents Heriberto and Maria Moran. When Miriam’s parents visited her grandmother, who had moved to the Shore, they fell in love with the area and made a permanent move to Maryland from New York, where they raised their family.

Miriam recalls her first day of middle school in St. Michaels. As a teenage Latina from multiethnic New York wondering how to fit in on the mostly black and white Eastern Shore, she wore what she describes as a “Little House on the Prairie” dress. She didn’t need the less than stylish dress after all. A schoolmate, who saw her sitting alone in the cafeteria, came over to welcome the new girl. To this day, both women consider themselves to be sisters.

Miriam credits her Taino roots with the constant presence of art in their home through music, dance, food, and especially her father’s collection of Indian art. The best of those memories were the times she sat with him while he sketched horses on the tiniest scraps of paper. Even so, art wasn’t something she pursued for herself.

Miriam and her spouse Manny with their children

Miriam’s creative gift surfaced years later while she recovered from an accident in which she and her daughter suffered horrific injuries. During the long healing process, Miriam began sketching. It was both therapeutic and a revelation. She recalled, “I really could draw!”

In 2015, at what she describes as one of the lowest parts of her life, immersion in art became a source of healing. “I was shown that I have a God-given gift to paint.”

Miriam points to the example of her favorite artist Frida Kahlo and her painting titled, “The Two Fridas.” Kahlo created the piece after her separation from Diego Rivera, using art to work through the period of turmoil in her life. Kahlo’s example inspired Miriam to embrace the belief that “art makes even the ugly parts of life beautiful.”

With Miriam’s creativity came a growing reverence for local history and its heroes. Her paintings include the social justice and community movement that led Miriam to design and create the Black Lives Matter mural on Race Street in Cambridge. “All walks of life, all races came together to paint,” she said. “It was a beautiful sight to see during a time when it was needed most.”

Having her own studio as a goal, Miriam paints, sketches, and writes poetry at home. Her most recent inspirations are salt portraits. These are created by using only her hands and a small brush to manipulate the salt into her desired image. To make permanent portraits in this unusual medium, she’s exploring ways to create her work on canvas.

Miriam’s plate is more than full. In addition to her role as a wife and mother to six beautiful children, in June she has plans to collaborate with Shelton Hawkins to bring their art to Easton. She’s also pairing up with Mandala Pies Company of Vienna for the project Pies and Painting, with the proceeds benefitting Vienna Elementary School.

Countless volunteers, contributing to the Black Lives Matter street mural

Aside from sheer talent, her work resonates with the community because of her love for its people. She’s set an intention to one day open her own gallery and therapeutic art center.

“My art is my heart,” she said. With her art, her dedication to the history and people of the place she now calls home, Miriam Moran has given her heart to Dorchester County and Cambridge, the soul of the Eastern Shore.

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