provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Locals have been admiring the art of former news anchor Rachel Pierce for a long time in stores and shows around Southwest Florida. Now it has found a permanent home, 1571 Periwinkle Way. The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce celebrated the Rachel Pierce Art Gallery’s opening with an onsite ribbon cutting on Thursday, Feb. 17.
“I quietly opened my doors on Jan. 28, but now I’m ready to shout it from the rooftops! I’m OPEN!” said Pierce, who characterizes her brand of interpretive art as modern coastal. “I love art that ‘moves,’ and I create that with my ‘moving’ back drops. Many of my subjects are ‘in motion,’ like a sea turtle gliding through a moving sea or a spoonbill ready to take off from a sandy beach. I like to take subjects that are usually painted in traditional ways and make them modern and fun.”
Since Pierce retired from NBC2 news in 2020, she has been devoting more time to her art. A lifelong artist, she studied art in college, but eventually segued into broadcast journalism. Pierce moved to Fort Myers in 2015 and became involved in community affairs as an emcee for events and celebrity artist. The latter once more ignited her love for creating her brand of whimsical, colorful, sea-inspired oil and acrylic paintings.
She continued her support of local nonprofits as artist in residence for the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island starting in 2021. The refuge currently hosts an exhibition of her wildlife-inspired art. Already this year, she also has helped raise money also for Pace Center for Girls, the Sanibel PTA, The Community House, FISH, Community Housing and Resources, and the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
“I still will sell out of various locations, too, but this will be where you can see the most,” Pierce said. “I got asked a lot ‘where is YOUR art gallery?’ Now I have an official place to call my art home. And what’s better than Sanibel?”
In addition to her vivid paintings and prints, Pierce sells jewelry, clothing, tote bags, wine stoppers, dish and bar ware, and other gifts featuring her hand-painted designs. Her line of Evocateur jewelry sells in more than 150 boutiques and stores across the nation.
“What a colorful addition Rachel brings to our island community, and in such a generous spirit of support, energy, and joy,” said John Lai, chamber president and chief executive officer. “We happily welcome her to the fold as a new Sanibel resident and business owner and look forward to partnering with her in promoting our islands.”
“This is a small town in the best way,” said Pierce. “Everyone makes you feel welcomed and like family. I joined the San-Cap chamber to get involved in the business community on island. I had no idea how supportive the other members would be — from their words to their partnerships. It’s been amazing. My vision is: The more we build each other up and encourage the businesses in our community, the more inviting a place we make it to not only visit but to live, work, and play at all ages.”
Learn more about Pierce and her work at her website or visit her gallery from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
ABOUT SANIBEL & CAPTIVA ISLANDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. With more than 460 active Chamber members from both islands and businesses from Lee and Collier counties, the Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents, and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. The Francis P. Bailey, Jr., Chamber Visitor Center is located at the entrance to Sanibel Island and welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year. VISIT FLORIDA named the visitor center one of 13 official Florida Certified Tourism Information Centers in the state. It is open 365 days a year and provides comprehensive information about things to do, places to visit, and where to stay, shop, and dine. The chamber website receives more than 1.3 million website visits per year. For more information about the chamber, visit the chamber’s website or contact Landen Collins, communications and marketing manager, at 239-472-8255 or Landen@sanibel-captiva.org.