Barbara Capizzo

by: Zöe Briance

A reputation of the kind enjoyed by Barbara Capizzo takes years to build. What the artist has discovered, however, is that if you are not careful, your reputation can also start to build you.

Reputation is demanding. It requires constancy, which means that it can direct and mold your work and, in doing so, become a help financially, but a hindrance artistically.

This is the 16th year that Capizzo has had her gallery on Old South Wharf. Before that, she displayed her work in a space on Straight Wharf, barely a stone’s throw away. She has become an established figure on the island art scene. Alongside her husband Vito, Nantucket High School’s venerable football coach, her life has been firmly rooted on Nantucket since the couple moved to the island in 1964. Their entire married life has been spent on Nantucket, as they moved here in September 1964 – just a month after their August wedding – so that Vito could take the coaching position he still occupies.

Capizzo acknowledges that this combination of artist and football coach meant that for much of the four decades they have spent here, they have been at the very heart of the community. She adds, however, that “Nantucket’s growing so fast that it’s hard to be at the center of everything now. I’m so busy that I miss a lot of what’s going on in the summer.”