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Commissioner provides Cape artist chance to exhibit work

By Staff | May 29, 2009

A Cape Coral artist has found her work hanging in the hallowed halls of a Lee County commissioner.
The work of Emily Kilgore, 25, is now on display in Tammy Hall’s office at the Old Lee County Courthouse in Fort Myers.
Kilgore’s oil paintings and sculptures join the ranks of other Lee artists who have been chosen by Hall to bring their works to the public. This is the first time she has had her artwork displayed publicly.
Kilgore said her job as a course ranger at the Fort Myers Country Club brought about a fortuitous meeting with Deputy County Manager Bill Hammond.
“Bill Hammond had asked me a few questions about myself, and I told him I was trying to support myself while working on an art career,” she said. “He took a look at my portfolio and then took the time to go to Tammy Hall’s office and ask her to look at my work.”
Originally from Wisconsin, Kilgore arrived in Southwest Florida via Hawaii, where she claimed her work was greatly impacted. Family brought her to Fort Myers and then to the north Cape, where she enjoys the quiet and solitude.
Kilgore works in multiple mediums, calling herself a “jack of all trades,” one that seems to clash with her education at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
“Throughout my college career it was always a debate,” she said. “They told me to focus on one thing, but I find as an artist all work you’re doing, whether it’s with a chainsaw or paint, it’s all lines. You’re using a tool to draw a line.”
While paint is the mainstay in most artistic endeavors, Kilgore’s use of a chainsaw is what really got Hammond and Hall’s attention.
Following a violent storm, Kilgore found a piece of mahogany on the golf course which became the basis for her piece, the “Freedom” statue.
“I had never run a chainsaw until that project,” she said. “It was thrilling, but it was also frightening.”
Now trying to work her way into the Southwest Florida arts scene, Kilgore plans to continue refining and honing her skill.
She recently completed a portrait for Hammond and his family. Though being paid for her skill was nice, the feeling it inspired in the Hammond family was a far greater reward.
“I would love to be a famous artist some day, with lots of cash and a cool house, but items are less valuable than being able to move somebody through your art,” she said.
Kilgore’s work will be on display in Hall’s office until June 30. The public is welcome to view the artist’s creations during office hours. No reservations necessary.
For more information, call Hall’s office at 533-2226.