Nationally renowned,Margaret Slade Kelley is recognized as a major artist of our times in Gumbo Ya Ya: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Women Artists (Midmarch Arts Press, 1995). “She is among a collective of women who are blazing a trail through social, economic, and political discrimination, as they open the way for all African Americans to pursue careers in art if they so wish,” says Dr. Leslie King-Hammond, Dean of Graduate Studies, and Maryland Institute College of Art.
Kelley’s art represents a convergence of elements that are social, expressive, and personal. A figurative painter who uses strong images and striking colors, her concern is not so much in recording specific individuals, as in finding the common emotional ground in social relationships.
Kelley’s paintings “capture the soul of the New Orleans,” according to Essence Magazine. Venues throughout the city of New Orleans sell her work, in limited editions posters and prints. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Kelley first visited New Orleans in 1981, drawn back many times; she moved to the city in 1992 and drew inspiration from street musicians in the French Quarter and other elements of the city’s culture for her work.
The State of New Jersey, Essence Magazine, General Motors, Chevrolet, MCA Records, Rhythm & Blues Foundation and the Jazz & Heritage Foundation have commissioned her work, to name just a few. She served on the board of directors of KidsmArt in New Orleans an organization that provides education and cultural resources to children.
Currently, Margaret teaches aspiring artists the business of art "Artists as Entrepreneurs," workshops, in New Orleans,Louisiana and East Orange, New Jersey.
Margaret Slade Kelley’s work spans over four decades, with countless exhibitions and commissions. She lives her life as an artist, teacher and activist near city of Atlanta, Georgia.