Loyal to Local: Laurel Dagnillo

Loyal to Local: Laurel Dagnillo

The Riverside Arts Market (RAM), now in its 15th year, is a weekly makers and farmers market hosted by Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine. Each week, more than 100 small business owners gather under the canopy of the Fuller Warren Bridge to sell their products to the local community. Keep reading to learn more about some of the incredible vendors that make RAM a must-visit part of every Saturday.

In the busy Riverside Arts Market, where the noise of the visitors, vendors and activity fills the air, the booth of artist Laurel Dagnillo stands out as a peaceful oasis. Her gallery-style display highlights her oil paintings ranging from realistic landscapes featuring majestic clouds to whimsical portraits of animals.

“I’m inspired by everything!” Dagnillo said.

Art has been a lifelong journey for Dagnillo.

painting of a mule and a bird
painting of a boy and girl flying a kite in a field with a dog lying down in the grass
Laurel showing her paintings on display at the Arts Market

“Believe it or not, I started out as a little kid and never stopped drawing and painting,” she said.

Dagnillo shared that her creative process is driven by “a strong feeling in my heart. Like, an idea must come out or I will bust!” This creative energy is visible on the gallery walls she sets up for Saturdays at RAM. With several paintings in the works at once, Dagnillo is able to keep quite the display for her customers. Many of her oil paintings are miniatures, but she also includes some large paintings which she calls her “attention-getters.”

Dagnillo began selling her work in high school, but, after being inspired at art festivals, decided to try her hand selling on weekends. That inspiration has translated to over four decades of success on the art festival circuit, as well as numerous one-person shows and gallery features throughout Northeast Florida. She and her husband moved from Western New York to Jacksonville 23 years ago, drawn by the economic opportunities of the area. Dagnillo finds that selling at markets and festivals allows her to build meaningful connections.

Laurel holding a painting of a fox
Laurel sitting in a chair and painting

“The best thing is the friendships I’m making with other vendors at RAM!” said Dagnillo.

She can be found at her booth without fail, proudly wearing a name tag identifying her as the artist. Her approachability keeps her busy chatting with customers and aspiring artists, whom she offers advice from her lifetime of experience.

“Persistence! Never stop trying and learning,” she said, while also emphasizing the importance of practicality. “Have a day job to support yourself. Learn to make a living while learning to create.”

Laurel's paintings on display at the Arts Market

Dagnillo’s artwork can be found select Saturdays at the Riverside Arts Market as well as at various art shows and galleries, including the upcoming Mandarin Art Festival. She also frequently donates pieces to causes that speak to her love of animals. Those looking to take home one of Laurel’s stunning pieces can visit her Facebook page to learn where they can next see her artwork in person.

Are you interested in becoming a RAM maker in 2024? Please visit the Applications tab on RAM’s website to learn more and submit a vendor interest form.

By Chloe Kuhn
Market Manager, Riverside Arts Market

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)