One of Winston-Salem’s most prolific native artists, and long-time friend of Arbor Acres, Anne Kesler Shields (1932 – 2012) has been honored in the City of Winston-Salem’s “Arts, Culture, and Entertainment Memorial Walk of Fame” near the Downtown District.
While Shields pursued many artistic endeavors, she is perhaps best known for her portraiture and collage work. The sequence of her life and creative journey is well documented by journalist Tom Patterson in “Anne Kesler Shields: A Retrospective for SECCA” (which has been digitized and made available online). Also described in Patterson’s essay are Shields’ special ties to Arbor Acres.
In accordance with Arbor Acres’ commitment to curating an artful environment, much of Shields’ work is housed in a permanent collection in Asbury Place, our assisted living residence. These pieces were graciously donated by her husband and current Arbor Acres resident Howard Shields, and her family.
A stroll down this hallowed hallway on the first floor of Asbury Place transports the onlooker through Shields’ evolution: the geometric “optical art” from her early days as a working artist…
…the portraits imbued with collage elements inspired by her time spent at an artist colony in Virginia…
…her stirring post-9/11 collage series, a time made more tumultuous for Shields because her son was an active military member…
…and her postmodern mashups that offer a commentary on the portrayal of women in modern media.
To see one of her most beloved creations, however, one must make their way to Carom Café, located in the lobby of Strickland Place. There reside 19 portraits of early Arbor Acres residents, one of whom being Shields’ aunt. According to Patterson, she hoped these portraits would encourage the viewer to seek out individual identities, instead of assigning conventional group categories to others.
Shields has been selected as one of four 2022 inductees of Winston-Salem’s Memorial Walk of Fame, a dedicated stretch of walkway outside the Benton Convention Center on Cheery Street. This space is dotted with bronze stars commemorating those who have made significant contributions to the arts in our city. Shields’ star will sit among the likes of Maya Angelou, who was a professor at Wake Forest University and resided in Winston-Salem for many years.
Arbor Acres could not be more pleased that Anne’s artistic impact, which has so long been appreciated in our community, is now memorialized for all to witness.
The 2022 inductees’ stars were unveiled on Friday, July 29, 2022. For more information on the Walk of Fame and past years’ inductees, click here.
Screenshot from the City of Winston-Salem Facebook page.