photograph by Baxter Miller

It only took one trip to Hatteras Island for artist Kimmie Robertson to fall in love. “I just knew I had to live here,” she says. “It was magic.” Eventually, she made her dream come true in Salvo, where she built her shop (and home), Pea Island Art Gallery — a replica of the nearby 1874 Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station. For nearly 15 years, she’s found joy in sharing her love of creativity.

When the island’s population swells each summer, Kimmie looks forward to seeing the customers who return year after year. “They’re like family,” she says. “Lots of people won’t leave the island without coming in to say hi.”

Kimmie loves to meet newcomers, too, many of whom are drawn in by the unique building. Inside, they find the work of 135 artists, many from the Outer Banks — including Kimmie’s 79-year-old mom, who is a fixture in the shop and has been painting since Kimmie was born. They find pottery, driftwood sea creatures with copper fins, and stained glass. And they find Kimmie, who imparts a sense of belonging in this well-loved shop.

“People want to connect and feel a part of Hatteras, like they’re embraced by the island,” Kimmie says. “It’s more than coming to buy art. It’s about deeply connecting to art — and to people.”

Pea Island Art Gallery
27766 NC Highway 12
Kinnakeet, NC 27959
(252) 216-5647

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Katie Schanze is the assistant editor and digital editor of Our State.