Painter Anne Neilson
By Caroline Sessoms
Posted: Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013
When Anne Neilson painted her first angel ten years ago, the Charlotte mother of four had no idea that the small oil artwork would launch a career that has touched lives from orphans to Oprah. Her book, Angels In Our Midst, hit shelves last fall and this season shes set to open her new South End gallery. We sat down with the talented artist to talk fame, faith, and future projects.The response to your book Angels In Our Midst was overwhelmingly positive what was that like?
I believe that when you surrender to God, these things just fall into place. I owe a lot to Kathy Lee Gifford, tooI sent her a copy of the book and she responded quickly we met and became fast friends. She featured the book on The Today Show, and then things really took off.And whats this I hear about you and Oprah?
I dont have her phone number like I have Kathy Lees, but I have sent her paintings and received a phone call from her thanking me telling me what they meant to her. It was crazy to hear Hi Anne, this is Oprah! coming from my phone.What inspired your angel series?
Ive always been an artist, but ten years ago I really wanted to do something that reflected my faith and what came out was a tiny little angel. I sent it to my sister and she said, I think you found your voice. Thats what got me going.Tell me more about giving back.
I began Strokes of Compassion four years ago with artist Robert Langford. Instead of showing our work in a typical gallery where 50% of sales go to the gallery, we seek out donated spaces so that we can give 50% of sales back to the community instead we raised more than $20,000 for The Harvest Center last October.And youre opening a gallery of your own this fall?
Yes, right here in South End! My studio is here and the whole area is just packed full of creativity and the gallery space is stunning. Ive been doing international shows, and in order to get into the large ones like Art Basel and take my ministry there, I need my own gallery. Ill also have a place for Strokes of Compassion shows and the ability bring some incredible artists to Charlotte, too.