A memorial service for the respected North Carolina artist Mary Anne Keel Jenkins will be held Sunday at 2p.m. at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home on St. Mary’s Street in downtown Raleigh. Mary Anne who was a close friend of gallery owner Lee Hansley, was born in 1929 in the small town of Stokes in Pitt County and grew up in Greenville. She died in February at age 87.She is graduate of the private Ferree School of Art in Raleigh and she studied at East Carolina University, North Carolina State University and San Carlos Art School in Mexico City. She did additional studies in Colchester, England; Rome, Italy; Santa Fe, New Mexico and Madrid, Spain.
In 1999 Hansley curated a 50 year retrospective of Mary Anne’s work at the Greenville Museum of Art. Works by Mary Anne Jenkins are in the collections of the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Minnesota Museum of Art, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the North Carolina Museum of History, the Gregg Museum of Art at NCSU, Wake Forest University and the Greenville Museum of Art, among others.
In 1994 Mary Anne was named recipient of the Raleigh Metal of Arts and since 1976 has been listed in Whos Who in American Art. Mary Anne was active in the politics of art in the City of Raleigh serving on the Raleigh Arts Commission from 1984-1990 and was a founding board member of the City Gallery of Contemporary Art, now CAM Raleigh. She was also a member of the Raleigh Artist Housing Task Force and the Art in Public Places Task Force. Mary Anne taught painting for over 40 years at the Pullen Arts Center for the City of Raleigh; the painting studio at the Pullen Arts Center bares her name.Mary Anne made two unselfish contributions to art in North Carolina when in 1975 she became the driving force in having the laws changed in North Carolina distinguishing original prints made by the hand of the artist from commercially made reproductions And in the early 1980s Mary Anne traveled to Europe with an exhibition of art by North Carolina artists that was shown in three countries.
Mary Anne remained active as an artist until about three years ago when rheumatoid arthritis and Parkinson’s disease affected her motor skills.
Mary Anne was Raleigh’s most important female artist of the last half of the 20th Century according to Hansley. And she was certainly in the top 10 of women artists in the state.