Southwest Art Helps Reunite Family

Phillip Tageant by Ann Gargotto

When Ann Gargotto appeared in Southwest Art as an Artist to Watch in the March issue, she had no idea she would play a part in reuniting a long lost man with his family. But in the article she discusses a homeless man, Phillip, who she painted for a show held last fall in Denver. And that set the ball in motion.

A woman reading the article in Sacramento, CA, wanted more information about the painting, so she went to SWA’s website. The website featured additional works by Ann, including one titled PHILLIP TAGEANT. Much to Pearl Kelly’s surprise, the man depicted in the painting was her uncle, who disappeared from the family 32 years ago. Pearl immediately called her sister, Peggy Converse, who lives in the Denver area. And Peggy contacted Ann Gargotto on Friday, April 8, at Denver’s Abend Gallery, where, by yet another coincidence, the artist was arriving soon because she was in a show opening that night.

The next day, Peggy, Ann, and Ann’s sister and boyfriend all met up in downtown Denver and began to comb the city streets looking for Phillip. Ann and Peggy had a picture of Phillip’s portrait on their cell phones. The amateur detective team rang doorbells and showed the painting at grocery stores, apartment buildings, and to various homeless people. Everyone seemed to know the man, but no one had seen him recently.

Then suddenly, after two hours, Ann spotted Phillip and ran down the block to catch up with him. When Peggy finally asked Phillip if he knew who she was, he replied yes and seemed happy to see her. Peggy called her father and uncles in Louisiana on her cell phone and they reunited while standing on 13th Street in downtown Denver. “We’re not sure what happened to him. That will take some time to find out,” Peggy says. “But he’s really sharp and still has the same sense of humor.” Phillip turns 67 on April 19. Peggy plans to bake a cake and meet up with him to celebrate the occasion. “It’s a miracle. It just shows you that you should never give up,” Peggy says. –Bonnie Gangelhoff, senior editor, Southwest Art

2 thoughts on “Southwest Art Helps Reunite Family

  1. Phillip James Tageant

    To Ann Gargotto and South West Staff. It has been an amazing happening in My Life meeting The Beautiful Artist Ann Gargotto. I never thought her doing My Portrait would reunite me with My Family after so many years! It took ones talent to be displayed and another ones effort to keep looking for me. It all came full circle for me. I am so Blessed!! I Thank all of You. God Bless Us All!! Phillip James Tageant

  2. peggy converse

    An Amazing Story and Miracle in my Life. Thanks to Everyone who helped in this event Love To All! The Artist Ann Gargatto your talent helped all this to HAPPEN!! Love Peggy Joe Tageant Converse

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