Mar 24, 2022 - Things to Do

Meet the official artist of the 2022 National Cherry Blossom Festival

Lea Craigie-Marshall

Photo courtesy of Lea Craigie-Marshall

As a child, Lea Craigie-Marshall’s father bought her a pink faux fur jacket and took her to visit the Tidal Basin's cherry blossoms. As the official artist for this year’s cherry blossom festival, she hopes her work reflects that view – standing expectedly on the edge of the Tidal Basin and peering up at the pink flowers.

Driving the news: Craigie-Marshall’s paintings adorn the tote bags, shirts, and other merch that locals and tourists alike scoop up as souvenirs.

  • Every piece features a pollinator, like a bee or butterfly — “Because I’m a science nerd,” Craigie-Marshall says.

By the numbers: Her artwork will be seen by the more than 1.5 million people who visit the festival each year.

Background: Craigie-Marshall was born in Falls Church and later moved to West Virginia with her family.

  • Now 45, her career flourished in the early 2000s.
  • At the time, she homeschooled her kids during the day, worked nights as a pastry chef, then painted on her porch until 3am while listening to the Dave Matthews Band.
  • The Frederick-based artist has shown her work in D.C. at Artomatic and Zenith Gallery.

Flashback: Last year, Craigie-Marshall joined other artists in painting sculptures that were placed around D.C. during cherry blossom season.

  • You may have seen the sculpture she painted showing a crane dancing in a puddle amid rainbows. It was originally placed in a park in Deanwood and is now outside Ward Memorial AME Church.

Of note: Look for her at the Blossom Kite Festival this Saturday where she will be designing origami butterfly paper airplanes with the National Children’s Museum.

A metro card
The Metro card Lea Craigie-Marshall designed. Photo courtesy of Lea Craigie-Marshall.

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