Maryland artist Eric Jackson has spent the last 12 months traveling the Chesapeake watershed searching for inspiration. Instead of an easel and paintbrushes, he’s been carrying buckets and water test kits.

His goal? To gather water from 100 different shorelines across the Chesapeake, all of which he’s used to dye t-shirts illustrating a map of the watershed. Now, exactly 12 months after the initiative started, he’s on track to Mark the 100th shoreline.

Each of the shirts he’s made has been hand-dyed using water from one of those 100 locations, with the GPS coordinates of each location marked along the bottom hem. Doing so gives each of the shirts a little bit of a story not just about the bay, but from the bay itself. There’s a continuity throughout, but still an individuality about each one. Just like in the clothing choices that we make every day.

“It’s a unique format,” Jackson says “and the intention has always been to connect people to the watershed with a simple but effective message.” Those people include both his audience and also himself. The plan has been that by adding a creative spin to the age-old message of preserving the Chesapeake, The Arts can be a part of the growing chorus of policy and science-backed efforts to protect the watershed.

The audience for the project quickly grew as word began to spread last January. Environmental organizations and individuals alike began reaching out to share stories and insights about various parts of the Chesapeake which Jackson knew very little about. That support helped guide the development of the project throughout the spring. That’s when he realized that One Hundred Shores really had a story that was resonating with people.

Stories from each shore became a major part of the project, once he realized how interested people were in following the journey. Now, his bimonthly “Shore Stories” newsletter reaches over 1000 readers. Jackson has received a prestigious Creativity Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, which covered a lot of the travel costs. He received support and backing from other organizations as well. Sales of the t-shirts have largely gone right back into supporting the project, which has allowed him to push further and further into parts unknown.

While he may have hit his goal of 100 Shores the initiative is far from finished. It’s been such a success that he now plans to continue through more targeted shoreline explorations. “As I started to visit more and more shorelines I started to notice similar themes which connected one place to another. These themes started to re-emerge and really became a driving force in plotting a course throughout the year.” For the coming year, Jackson hopes to focus on just one of those themes in a smaller but more focused list of shorelines.

People interested in learning more about One Hundred Shores and staying up to date on future plans for the project can go to onehundredshores.com.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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