Since 1978, Margaret "Maggie" Agnew has been handing out towels in the locker room in the lower level of the Intramural Physical Education Building. She works 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and notes that the hours around noon are the busiest times. She collects IDs from users in exchange for towels or recreational equipment, and she returns the IDs when the items are brought back. In her down time with customers, she discovered that she could draw, and she has created scores of stylized, primitive rural scenes.
You have busy times of the day, but what about down times when it's real slow. What do you do then?
That's when I sit here and doodle, or draw, or work crossword puzzles.
Do you take any classes at IMPE or take advantage of the pool or exercise machines?
No, not really. I should come back out here and exercise but it's too much like coming back to work, so I just go walking at home. And when its real slow at work and we're caught up on our work, I'll go walk in the basement here or try out a few of the machines, but I don't really use it like I should.
Are you married?
I've been widowed about 10 years now. My kids are grown. I have two boys and three grandchildren. They're great. They're all boys: 12, 7 and 3. They're a lot of fun. They keep me going.
Do you see them a lot?
Oh yeah, every day just about. They live across town from me but we manage to see each other every day, and then on the weekends, they expect me to come pick them up every weekend.
You're hearing quite a few comments and compliments about your drawing lately. How did you get started with that?
I didn't even know I could draw at all. I'd never even tried. And then one day I was talking on the phone and you know how you doodle with a pen in your hand? I made a little thing and I thought it was pretty neat.
I'm not a people drawer. I do rural scenes, mostly. I use ballpoint pen and crayon.
Are your country scenes drawn from memory or imagination?
Imagination. I grew up in places in Tennessee that kind of looked like this and so I guess it kind of stuck. But not the mountains. I just started drawing mountains.
What do people say when they see your drawings?
I've had a lot of people come tell me I should take classes. My drawing is pretty rough I'm sure, but they say I'm pretty good at it.
You haven't invested much in materials. You draw on scrap paper and cardboard and even summer school schedule forms. What do you do at home with your art?
I have a whole room full of them. I started saving them and framing them and I started hanging them all the way around the room.
At 59, you're not far from retirement. What will you do?
I'll probably take some art classes. That's what I'd like to do. Probably at Parkland. I'll probably retire in a couple years. I've been working since I was 15 years old, so I said well, I think I can sit down for a little while now. Just sit down in my rocking chair and enjoy life.