Lisa Walters has always had an artistic touch.
Throughout October, Walters was the face behind many colorful storefronts throughout Carroll County emblazoned with detailed calligraphy in pink and white lettering with positive messages to support Carroll Hospital’s Pink Fling in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Walters painted 27 different business installations, starting Sept. 21, and she painted her final window at Len Stoler Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM in Westminster on Oct. 14.
Walters has applied her creative touch to these businesses in many different ways. At Barnes-Bollinger Insurance in Westminster, Walters painted the windows to include specific names for friends and family members who have been affected by cancer. The window inside 1623 Brewing in Eldersburg was designed for taproom guests to add their names.
“It’s really been neat,” Walters said. “I’m an introvert by nature, but because I’m out doing art, which is my happy place — my safe place. I enjoy the conversation. Most of the windows I’ve done have been outside so whether it’s people passing by or cars and stuff like that, it’s been nice to have small interactions with the community while I paint.”
Walters, 43, grew up in New York and attended public school in Staten Island, where she had the opportunity to take a variety of art classes such as photography, commercial art, studio art and calligraphy. Her parents allowed her to attend private lessons for three years to catch her up on basic artistic techniques as well.
Walters was in the Navy, stationed at Fort Meade, when she met her husband Vince, and they started a family. They lived in Westminster for 13 years prior to moving to Taneytown four years ago.
Walters started blogging in 2006 and used her nickname “Lei” when sharing content. She was inspired to blog about arts and crafts, and formed “CreativLEI” to share her artistic hand with others.
“Hand lettering is probably what’s now become my specialty,” Walters said. “I was introduced to basic calligraphy with a marker in middle school and did a little more formal calligraphy in high school. I have always enjoyed handwriting and lettering, and I’m left-handed, so I’ve always liked the challenge of being told that these paths are more for right-handed people.”
In 2015, Walters participated in a blogging challenge for October, the objective of which was to publish something daily for the whole month. She chose to run a series called “31 Days to Love Your Lettering” and walked people through basic handwriting and beginning creative lettering to include brush and modern calligraphy.
Walters said she got more involved with painting in the community once her readership and online following started to grow. She formed connections with local business owners in Carroll County and painted her first county storefront at the Taneytown Dance Center in 2016.
“I was kind of balancing this online presence and then meeting people here in Carroll County while figuring out how to kind of bridge those two things because they are kind of very different worlds being with local businesses and being with online or influencers.”
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Heather Akers, Carroll Hospital Foundation events manager, got in touch with Walters through Instagram to brainstorm what could be done in the community to celebrate the hospital’s Center for Breast Health Paint Carroll Pink campaign. Walters said she has not been personally affected by breast cancer, but October is a month of awareness for a different cause that is important to her and her family.
“October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and I lost a newborn daughter,” Walters said. “I understand the complexity of a loss in general, fighting for something, an illness or loss, and that’s multi-faceted. When we were coming up with the messaging, we wanted to be sensitive to the fact that not everyone that fights the battle wins the battle.”
The messaging portrayed on the county’s storefronts stands for community and strength, Walters added, and she was able to paint as many as four or five in one day. Walters painted “No one fights alone, a warrior works here” on the front windows of Market Tavern in Sykesville in honor of owner Jen Elliott, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer a second time.
Elliott underwent two surgeries and received radiation last year. She is currently on a six-month watch for the next five years and has been taking a medication designed to aid in the decreasing recurrence of the cancer, but it was detected again in July.
Her treatment plan is still the same, she said, and the support she has received continues to uplift her.
“Lisa’s work is so beautiful, she’s so very talented,” Elliott said. "She was able to provide a different messaging on all the windows to really capture the whole message. As for such a simple thing, writing on the windows, I think it really has a big impact. I’m so thankful for her and she did this out of the goodness of her heart.
“I think it’s really beautiful.”