Rigg, Margaret, 1900-2011
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Brief Description:

Margaret "Peg" Rigg taught at Eckerd College for 33 years as an art professor. She amassed friends all over the world despite not being a social gadfly. Her art, politics and spirituality wove together like brightly colored thread.

The point of her art, she wrote in 1972, is "to communicate even the hidden humor of life, beneath the pain of our struggling lives."

Ms. Rigg, a Fulbright scholar who co-founded Eckerd's visual art program and mentored hundreds of artists, died July 16 of pneumonia. She was 82.

Ms. Rigg specialized in calligraphy, painting, mixed media, print making and sculpture, resulting in more than 60 one-woman shows on four continents. Her calligraphy was featured in CBS specials in 1968 and 1971.

Ms. Rigg told students they could do it their way.

She never joined the computer age, writing letters by hand to friends and illustrating them.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1928, Ms. Rigg studied at Carnegie Mellon University and graduated from Florida State University. She also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, where she received her master's degree.

Along the way, she studied at the Highlander Folk School (now the Highlander Research and Education Center) in Tennessee, considered a training ground for labor and civil rights activists, including Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In Nashville, she worked for 11 years as art director for motive magazine. She protested segregation with Martin Luther King, Jr.

The calligraphy for which she might have been known best often conveyed spiritual messages, underscoring her belief that all people and things are related.

In 1965, she followed art professors Robert Hodgell and Crane to Florida Presbyterian College. The school later changed its name to Eckerd College.

Her span there included overcoming a tragedy. In 1974, Ms. Rigg was involved in a car crash outside London that resulted in the death of a childhood friend. Ms. Rigg suffered head injuries in the accident and had to relearn walking and drawing.

Ruth Pettis was a student in one of Ms. Rigg's first classes after she returned to teaching in 1975.

"It was a particularly moving and inspiring class," said Pettis, 54, who went on to do calligraphy professionally.

Though briefly engaged while in college, she never married, telling a friend that doing so would jeopardize her art.

An early feminist, she helped found the Women's Resources Committee at Eckerd and endowed a scholarship for women artists.

Ms. Rigg retired in 1998 but continued her artwork and political involvement, including championing Barack Obama.

In 2008, the college awarded her its John Satterfield Outstanding Mentor Award.

For the past five years, she lived in Westminster Suncoast, where she taught an art class. At least two of her art pieces are currently on display in Florida shows, Johnston said.

Biography adapted from Andrew Meachem's obituary article written for the Tampa Bay Times in its July 11, 2011 edition.

Held at:
Theology Library Archives
745 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Record Series Number: 03/055
Volume: 28.0 Boxes
Acquired: 00/00/2011.
Arrangement: The collection is organized into the following groupings general correspondence, special correspondence with others and family, photographs, and scrapbooks.
Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions placed on this collection.
Physical Access Notes: Brittle or fragile materials must be handled and photocopied by the Archivist or Archives Assistants per their discretion.
Acquisition Notes: C. Johnston  Box delivery through USPS.
PreferredCitation: Margaret Rigg Collection