Beloved photographer and NCAP director, Maria Markell, passes away

Huge loss for the community
Director of Noel Community Arts Program passes away.
Director of Noel Community Arts Program passes away.(Shreveport regional arts council, Maria Markell, and her family)
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 4:41 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 4:42 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - A well-known local artist died suddenly, leaving the art community stunned at the loss; she contributed in large ways to the community.

Maria Markell suffered from a sudden embolism and passed away on June 23; it was a heart-wrenching day for everyone who knew her.

Markell worked closely with the Spring Street Museum and later became the director of the Noel Community Arts Program(NCAP). Her dedication to the arts impacted the community in massive ways. Markell had just recently gained grant money to allow NCAP the ability to offer scholarships to cover camp and private lesson costs for families in financial need. She also worked with other local non-profits to offer expanded art outreach experiences. Due to her work, art lessons were held at many different locations, including local friendship houses, Volunteer of America’s Lighthouse program, The Hub Ministry, and Creswell Elementary School’s after-school program.

“Our community has lost a true champion in the arts. She created beautiful inspiring work, and she has worked tirelessly in the last year at her dream job, director of Noel Community Arts Program, in broadening our art outreaches in the Highland/downtown communities. Maria has inspired me a lot throughout the years. She challenged me multiple times to push myself into greater art experiences. I’ve heard countless stories of her doing the same for others. She KNEW the healing power of art. She KNEW the beauty and value of art. She was my confidant and supporter in several aspects of my life. No one can replace her,” reads a statement from Tracy ElizaBeth with NCAP.

As a juried rostered artist, Markell displayed amazing talent with photography and had shown her artwork at such places as Bossier Arts Council in 2019 and Meadows Museum of Art in 2021.

“Maria was one of those community gems. She loved this community and it showed in all that she contributed. Her smile was a bright light that just made you happy. It is a huge loss for her family and friends who loved her dearly. We know that she leaves behind a legacy of good, that’s who she was,” said Robin Jones, director of Bossier Arts Council.

“She had a bright shining personality that showed through in her art. Recently she had become the director of the Noel Community Arts Program, but with SRAC she was a Roster Artist and Collectible Artist that participated in many community projects and calls. She was our friend. She was our neighbor. She was someone who saw things through her lens no one else saw. We will miss her unique perspective and outlook on life,” said a statement from Shreveport Regional Arts Council.

Markell was skillful in capturing intimate, joyful moments in nature with her photography. Her art always brought inspiration and a smile to those who saw it.

Leaving behind a family that cherished her, Markell’s mark has been left on Shreveport and Bossier City.

“My mom was an absolute ray of sunshine, and she never met a stranger. She loved her community, art, friends, and family. We are all heartbroken over the sudden loss of her,” said Macy Schmelz, Markell’s daughter.

Her services will be held July 1 at Forest Park Funeral Home. For more information click here.

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