Updated: Jun 12
Naples artist Cheri Dunnigan, is a Master Goldsmith and nationally recognized landscape painter. She grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts.
Born with a creative drive, and being blessed with parents who recognized and fostered both her artistic interests and ambitions, she was able to begin to develop her artistic talents at an early age. She made her first piece of jewelry at the age of 15. This experience lit a passion and set the course of her studies over the next 7 years. This led her to the Cleveland Institute of Art where she studied with John Paul Miller and earned a 5 year Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree specifically in Silversmithing in 1978. Having majored in silversmithing and jewelry design, she worked for many years as a designer craftsman, maintaining a retail studio and showroom in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.
Dunnigan shares about her creative passion:
“Art and self-expression in various forms has been a way of life for me. My most recent work springs from the context of my ethnic heritage. I am of Armenian and Italian decent and much of my work seems to reflect the richness, intricacy and visual complexity of the art of those ancient cultures. As a designer, I seek to honor the sensibilities of tradition while embracing contemporary forms and considerations, pushing technique within the boundaries of proper function. I believe that excellent design, that is enduring design, always has a timeless quality about it and it is that transcendence that I strive for with each new piece.”
In 1998 Cheri was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythmatosis, and having lost the strength and dexterity in her hands it became clear that she would not be able to resume her career as a metalsmith. At that time she turned her creative talents towards pastel painting, and with pastels, she found a new passion. Painting had a tremendous therapeutic effect and before long, not only had she found herself launched into a new career, but she also found that her condition went into a solid remission.
Storytellers is honored to have Cheri on its team of volunteers and as a member of the creative community group. She brings a wealth of experience and talent that enhances the vision to impact culture through the arts.
“Storytellers is very affirming and encouraging. Artists are often isolated in the studio and we don’t have contact with others. The ministry is intent on developing programs to connect artists for support and collaboration which confirms for us that God has a plan, we are not alone and that His gifts and callings are not a mistake.”
Today, Cheri is healthy, and thrilled to be working again in metal, as well as pursuing her career as a landscape painter. She has exhibited her work nationally and has won numerous awards. Cheri presently lives in Naples, Florida with her husband Tim and her son Matthew. She is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, the Society of North American Goldsmiths, the Florida Society of Goldsmiths. She currently teaches ongoing classes at the Center for the Arts in Bonita Springs, Florida.