Wild Child Gallery
Artists at work in the "Heart of Matlacha"
Peggy’s always been a creative soul.
Starting at the early age of six, she
displayed her artistic abilities on her parents' walls.
Her first paying work in the world of art was as a design and layout artist for a photography studio. She developed her photography talents doing studio work, but her love of nature and wildlife kept bringing her out of the studio. As a child her mother, Audrey (the Original WildChild) taught her a
love of adventure. Each summer they would pack up a old station wagon and explore, traveling the back roads, camping, fishing, hiking and boating.
By the time she was 14 years old, she had been across the United States many times and explored most of Canada and Nova Scotia. Her Father, Calvin taught her the love of cooking and gave her a love of a more cultured side of life- the best of
“ I was very lucky, my parents were very different, my father
having grown up in the city and my mother being a country girl. They both gave me a wonder for life. Old jeans or a little black dress, I'm happy in both."
In 1978 she was exploring and found Matlacha and Pine Island. “As soon as I came across the Matlacha Bridge I knew that I had found where I belonged. It felt like the Florida Keys when I was a little girl. A funky little fishing village. Back then there were no art galleries on the island, but this area drew like- minded souls. I would be at art shows in other states, talking with an artist and realize they lived hidden away on the same little island that I did. Fate is a funny thing.” In Florida with all the natural beauty she was drawn to stained glass, woodworking, acrylics and watercolors. She became well known as the Hat Lady on the Art Show circuit. Using her interest in anthropology and archeology she made one of a kind hats with beautiful woven bands of leather, shell, bone and glass beads- beautiful wearable art.
In 1995, Peggy fell in love with sculpture and metal has been her medium of choice since; she studied with nationally recognized artists such as Jackie Labb and Paul Kimble. She creates unique one-of-a-kind beautiful metal sculptures and fountains, mirroring the natural beauty of the local plants and fauna. She works in copper, brass, steel and recycled metals. Her pieces range in size from 2 inches to 38 feet high!
Peggy opened WildChild Art Gallery in 1998 and since has featured artists living on and around Pine Island and
southwest Florida. At opening, the gallery displayed her metal sculpture and the work of 20 local artists handpicked for their mediums and talent. Now over 15 years later WildChild Gallery features over 120 mostly Florida artists, who are juried in by Peggy and up to ten different artists from the gallery each time a jury is called. "We’ve become more of a Co-op Gallery as time has passed. Our artists all play well together. We’re a “Different type of Art Gallery." Each weekend on Fridays and Saturdays we demonstrate in the garden of the gallery to show that all our works of art are locally made, not shipped in from other countries.
"I believe that we are all born creative, but so often life stops that flow and we lose the artist within ourselves." "That’s what WildChild Gallery’s all about….. bringing that "creative child" back into each of us."
After Hurricane Charley, Peggy was commissioned to create a monumental sculpture to commemorate that life changing event. The sculpture titled "The Spirit" was completed in November of 2005. Below is a photo of the completed sculpture, but please look at our photo gallery to see the progression of it's creation.