Louise Shields is on cloud nine.
That’s because the Gilroy artist recently returned from a trip to New York earlier in May with some of her friends to attend a reception at the Agora Gallery, where a pair of her works were on display.
“The reception was amazing,” she said. “You could feel the warm, positive vibe there.”
Toward the end of 2022, Shields was notified that the work she had submitted to the gallery had been accepted, and when the news broke, her friends and family donated $6,000 to help get her art to the East Coast.
The support didn’t end there. A friend gifted Shields a timeshare for her stay in New York, while another gifted her a plane ticket. Her friends that accompanied her on the trip also made sure to tell everyone they met in New York that Shields was showing her work at the gallery.
“I felt like a movie star,” she said.
Shields, a self-taught artist, works as a deputy conservator with the Santa Clara County Public Guardian’s Office. She is active with the Gilroy Center for the Arts and organizes the annual Black History Month exhibit at the downtown gallery.
For her paintings and collages, Shields works with a variety of elements, including acrylics, coffee grounds, found objects and more.
While in New York, Shields said her experience networking with other artists proved to be invaluable for future opportunities, noting that the Agora Gallery plans to continue showcasing her work in other capacities throughout the year.
“The doors are just opening for my art to be out in the world in front of other people to appreciate and to see,” she said. “I’m so blessed by this whole opportunity.”
Shields also had her work recently accepted to a virtual gallery in London this summer, and closer to home, some of her art pieces are now on display at a Campbell Starbucks, 1820 W. Campbell Ave., for two months.
Shields is hopeful her growing art career serves as an inspiration to others who need encouragement to pursue their dreams.
“Whatever you dream, whatever passion you have, there are no limits as long as you go for it,” she said.