Bell Commemorates Centennial with Donation of Art
Numerous Ferrum College faculty, staff, friends, and supporters gathered on campus in Stanley Library last spring to celebrate artist Anne Bell’s second generous donation of artwork to the College. The new gallery on the second floor of the library showcases ten of Bell’s newly donated pieces, each depicting the beauty of the region and the culture and traditions in Appalachia.
Bell, who currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a prominent, award-winning painter who has been involved in southwest Virginia arts for 35 years. Her work, which is characterized by representational imagery and effective use of collage, is featured in numerous private, corporate, and public collections. Among Bell’s public art works are a number of portraits of politicians, sports figures, and classic Hollywood stars along with museum murals. Her bronze statue of American Revolutionary War hero General Andrew Lewis can be seen at the Salem Civic Center in Salem; her bust of General Lewis is in the Old Hall of the House of Delegates in Richmond.
The new works of art are in addition to the Anne Bell Collection located in the Sale Theatre lobby in Schoolfield Hall, which includes 20 works on oak panels inspired by Benjamin Beckham’s historic lantern slides. Dr. Beckham, Ferrum College’s founding president, used the slides to solicit support for the fledgling institution in the late 1910s and early 1920s. In the slides, Bell saw authentic scenes of the area that revealed insight into people’s lives, hopes, difficulties, and dreams, which she then reinterpreted in pastels, pen and ink, and oils.