Margaret Rigg Art Collection

Margaret Rigg Art Collection

“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 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.

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.

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. During the last five years of her life, she lived in Westminster Suncoast, where she continued to teach art and calligraphy. She died in 2011.

The Collection

The Margaret Rigg art collection came to us thanks to Dr. Ada Focer, as she studied the Methodist Student Movement for her dissertation. Focer met Rigg to interview her about her involvement with motive magazine, and her social justice activities. These artworks were stored at Eckerd College and were recovered by Focer during one of her interview sessions. With the help of Dr. Dana Robert, and the Center for Global Christianity and Mission, the works were shipped from Florida to Boston University in 2010. They were photographed in 2012 by Boston University Photo Services.

Margaret Rigg took these artworks around to schools, Sunday Schools, and other groups of children to share how art and theology intersect. The media, choice of colors, and, at times, harsh subject matter, reflect the turbulent times of the late 1950s and 1960s.

To view more of the artworks in the Margaret Rigg collection, please go to the School’s Theo Arts Exhibition Page or visit the STH Library’s Main Reading Room.