Kernersville Museum
The Kernersville Museum
127 W. Mountain Street
Kernersville, NC 27284
info@kernersvillemuseum.org
336-497-4869

Mildred Ballard Collection

Mildred Fries, formerly Ballard, was a local artist from Kernersville.  She was born in 1903 in Old Salem (Winston-Salem, NC). Her early childhood was spent in Little Rock, Arkansas, before her family moved back to Kernersville when she was eight years old. She spent the rest of her childhood in Kernersville, eventually graduating from Kernersville High School. After she graduated she moved to Washington DC, where she worked at the Pentagon. She married her boss, Harley Vernon, in 1940 and moved down to Orlando, Florida with him. They later divorced and she was remarried in 1950, to William Fries. Mildred and William lived in Wisconsin until his passing in 1956. After William died Mildred moved back to Kernersville, where she remained until her passing in 2000.

Mildred’s painting career began when she was just seven years old. She won her first art contest at the age of fourteen. Her talent was just that, talent. She never received an art lesson in her life. When she moved back to Kernersville she opened her own art gallery, which was located on Main St. She was well known to have painted several of Kernersville’s landscapes as she remembered the town in the 1920’s. She also painted many portraits and various landscapes for the many customers that she had.