Peggy Saporito, who retired to the Outer Banks from Wisconsin, is a woman who has dedicated the last two decades to serving the Outer Banks community and beyond.
For some, retiring to a resort community might mean lazy days relaxing or strolling on the beach, but Saporito’s retirement meant becoming even busier than when she was a "nine to fiver." Saporito is easily one of the most prolific volunteers on The Banks, as well as a highly respected award-winning watercolorist.
"My husband golfs three days a week, and I go volunteer or paint," Saporito says.
The list of organizations she has worked with is as long the barrier island itself. She worked Outer Banks Hotline Thrift Shop for five years. She worked at Friends of Youth for several years, the Outer Banks Marathon for 10 years — and as a retired nurse, she has also been volunteering at the The Outer Banks Hospital for 17 years.
As a lover of the arts, she has volunteered with the Dare County Arts Council for 19 having served as president of the board in the past, and now serving as the nonprofit’s program director. She also works the front desk every Tuesday.
In addition, she serves on the Arts and Cultural Committee at the Town of Nags Head, and — to top it all off — she is currently the president of the Watercolor Society for the entire state of North Carolina.
Saporito says she is motivated by a desire to keep learning and keep current about the fields she cares about.
"I like to keep busy and I like to know what’s the latest and greatest in health and in the medical field, even though I gave up my nursing license a year ago,” she says, “and of course, I’m interested in the arts so of course I’m plugged into the Dare County Arts Council. It’s amazing how much I learn just by going over there every single week, just by answering the phone and somebody want to know something about something, and I just keep current there, as well."
When she is not volunteering, you can find her working on her watercolors — an act of service in their own way. Through her commissioned pieces, Saporito helps people keep memories alive. One of her favorite subjects is bridal bouquets. She has sent out bridal bouquet portraits to people all over the world who have wanted to capture their loved one’s bridal bouquet as a wedding gift.
"I’ve probably done 75 bridal bouquets, so flowers are one of my favorite things to paint. It's usually after the fact, and then I receive a photograph, and I paint from the photograph of their bouquet. I have shipped them to Europe; pretty much all over the United States. I find it kind of a unique gift to get because nobody else is going to give it to them."
People have asked her to paint their pets who have passed away, or their parents’ home because the parents are moving into a retirement community and the adult children wanted to gift their parents a painting of their home as a keepsake. She has painted yachts for people who had lived on them for a while and had sold them but wanted to keep the memory.
Lately, she has started painting portraits.
"I started with my grandchildren, and I said I’m just going try it. I’m not going tell my daughter I’m doing it, but if it turns out okay, then I’ll give it to her...and so she got the first one as a Christmas gift," Saporito says.
The award-winning artist’s work has graced the covers of numerous publications, including The Beach Book. She has won the People’s Choice Award at Mollie Fearing Memorial Art Show multiple years, has been presented the Excellence Award at the Frank Stick Memorial Art Show numerous times, as well as the People's Choice award.
Her eighth submission recently was accepted into the Annual Juried Exhibition and Conference of the Watercolor Society of North Carolina. She’s going for 10.
Her paintings are beautiful works of art that give a lot to the people of the Outer Banks and to people all over the world that have their most cherished memories frozen in time in her breathtaking paintings.
You can find her work in permanent collections at The Outer Banks Hospital in Nags Head, and at the Dare County Administration Building and Justice Center in Manteo. You can also find her pieces and notecards for sale at the Dare County Arts Council in Manteo.
But, no matter how many acceptances she receives or accolades she is awarded, Saporito says, “I just really love to paint.”