Our new Artist in Community program, in partnership with Dare Arts and the National Park Service, gives Outer Banks artists the opportunity to demonstrate their crafts or perform their arts in our Outer Banks national parks!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in art. 

I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts and Art Education. I am originally from Central Pennsylvania, and my husband is from Portugal and moved to America to start our family here. I have dedicated my career to the arts and education working in the Pittsburgh Parks and Recreation department (most recently), the National Guard as a traveling artisan, nonprofit art organizations, and in public schools. My husband and I moved to the Outer Banks two years ago where we are now raising our boys on Roanoke Island.  

What do you strive to convey in your work? 

I strive to convey the history of right now in each landscape or painting I create. Thinking of these places in the perspective of our futures past rather than the present.  

Coastal environments like the Outer Banks are constantly changing. In my work, I hope to capture this brief moment in our story to share and grow appreciation for our world.  

Where do you find your inspiration? 

When I’m searching for inspiration, it typically comes from places I have fond personal memories, or a local essence that has become mundane and/or overlooked. 

What do you enjoy most about living in the Outer Banks? 

The feeling that washes over you when we cross over the bridge. The sand in my sneakers. The wonderful community. Cold winter hikes through the woods. Watching the sky. My family is not originally from the Outer Banks, but my husband and I were called to this place. I feel reciprocal when living and making art on the Outer Banks. It’s constantly giving me inspiration and new life.  

Why are our Outer Banks national parks important to you? 

The Outer Banks national parks are important to me because they are where I will take my children to educate them and grow their love for the outdoors. They serve as crucial environments for wildlife so our future generations can know them, and in turn love them. These parks are our backyard, and it is here we grow, explore, and live.  

Is there anything else you would like to share with us? 

I am very appreciative of this opportunity and thank you very much! 

Artist Statement: Kate Leal’s recent body of work encompasses the landscapes and wildlife of the Outer Banks, finding beauty in both in landmarks and hidden treasures that our area provides. Her work has been described as having an “island style” and calming color palette. She creates this work not only out of appreciation for the natural landscape, but also to share with others the unique beauty here.

Website | https://kateoartwork.square.site

Instagram | @kateoleal