Sometimes, a personal challenge can become a positive catalyst for finding less traditional study and career paths in life. That can certainly be said about Sara Pedigo. Because of her dyslexia, traditional school was challenging, but in high school, an art teacher made a real difference in the course of Sara’s life. Mrs. Esposito encouraged Sara to pursue her art passion as a career and at the same time, gave Sara a great appreciation for the difference that a skilled, compassionate teacher can make in a young person’s life. This gift was one that Sara too wanted to cultivate, along with her art.
After graduating from high school, Sara looked at many campuses in the United States that would allow her to pursue a degree in Fine Arts. One of those campuses was Flagler College; she visited the school and fell in love with all it had to offer, as well as the charm of the city of St. Augustine. Everything about Flagler and St. Augustine felt right.
“Attending Flagler as a student helped me grow self-confident,” says Sara. “I developed a skill set, but yet it gave me an all-around education that pushed me intellectually and fostered in me a mindset that I wanted to be a lifelong learner.”
Sara graduated from Flagler with a Fine Arts degree, but she knew she needed to pursue a master’s in order to accomplish her goals of teaching art in an accomplished academic setting, as well as growing her personal art skills. Though it was hard to leave Florida, she chose the University of Massachusetts at Amherst – a campus well-known for its Fine Arts program. Among many recognitions, she won the highly-coveted Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA. She also entered a National Contest sponsored by the Smithsonian, and her portrait submission won the Major Competition and was placed in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Sara finished her graduate degree in 2007, and it was time to take her studies and find a job that allowed her to pursue a passion of both creating art and teaching art. Resumes flew out; positive responses came back.
The most exciting, however, was the letter received that said her Alma Mater, Flagler College, was interested! What could be better than going back to St. Augustine and teaching at her beloved Flagler?
Now ten years later, Sara passes on her passion and skills as an Associate Professor of Fine Art. She loves her job, and Sara feels she has the perfect life in St. Augustine where she lives with her husband Marc and Beatrice and Fritz, their beloved rescue Greyhounds.
It’s easy to understand why, when asked what historical artist Sara most admires, that her answer is Johannes Vermeer. Like the 17th century painter, Sara too has the talent of being able to capture an everyday moment and give it light and beauty on canvas. Her work explores the peaceful charm of the familiar and makes it remarkable.
Locally, Sara’s art can be found at Plum Art Gallery in St. Augustine and Arts on Douglas in New Smyrna Beach. She is also available for commission.