Empire artist featured at Traverse City Library

From staff reports

Artwork by longtime Glen Lake School teacher Peggy McNew will be featured at the Main (Woodmere) Branch of The Traverse Area District Library through the month of May.

This is the first solo exhibit for McNew, who for 30 years has been coping with Cone Dystrophy — a retinal disease that causes some color blindness, missing areas of vision, and high sensitivity to light. “Now, at 64, my central vision is lost–which makes painting an interesting challenge!” Peggy notes. She paints using her lower peripheral vision and very thick eyeglasses.

The Empire-area resident began studying with well-known local artist Charles Murphy nearly four years ago, after retiring from her 33-year career as a music and early education teacher.

Murphy says Peggy is an inspired and motivated student. “She’s an example to her fellow students of how one deals creatively and purposefully with adversity and handicap. I have worked with many students over the years who have had to deal with visual impairments, and Peggy stands tall among them. At this point in time she has compiled an impressive body of work and I am very proud that she is seizing this opportunity to present it to the viewing public.”

Although her disease was not diagnosed until she was 30 years old, Peggy probably has had it since birth. Diagnosis answered a lot of “no wonder” questions for her. “I just feel so blessed to be able to pursue art at this time in my life,” she said. “I’m thankful to the Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired (an office at the Traverse Library) for their support, and I’m excited to share my artwork with the community.”

McNew’s artwork will be on display in the library’s McGuire Community Room starting May 5. The community is invited and encouraged to attend an opening reception scheduled for Thursday, May 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Her paintings will also be displayed at the Opera House for the month of May; at the May 2nd Art Walk; and at the Dennos Museum Small Works sale (to benefit the museum) May 15–18