Never doubting her career choices, Nancy R. Conrad became involved in her profession after winning a full scholarship to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) in the second grade. From that point on, she followed through with art until high school. A practiced artist, Ms. Conrad was a digital photography workshop instructor and oil painting workshop instructor at the Mountain Brook School Historical Foundation in Alabama in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Additionally, Ms. Conrad served as an art teacher at MFAH and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, as well as a volunteer art consultant within the Spring Branch Independent School District in Hedwig Village, Texas, and private studio art teacher.
When Ms. Conrad started out, her kids were very young and it was a comforting thing for her to do while they were sleeping. It gave her creative time alone and felt like it was meditation in a way. As they got older, they were supportive all along the way because she included them. They would paint outside together and would make things, which was a creative activity for all of them. It helped her with her teaching and also allowed her to bond with her kids.
Ms. Conrad is a realist artist working among abstractionists. The art movement shifted to mobile movement to abstraction and later, to heavy self-expression. She still wants to relate to the people that see her work. People seemed to like what she did, and would sit and look at it. The legacy that Ms. Conrad hopes to leave is that she wants her pieces to sit where they are. She may not last forever, but her paintings will and she wants them to continue to give pleasure to people.
Prior to the start of her professional career, Ms. Conrad pursued a formal education at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and art history, with a minor in early childhood education and psychology. Since graduating, she went on to be featured in Art in America from 2009 to 2010 as well as Jacobson’s Directory of American Artists. Her other achievements include having one of her pieces featured in the permanent collection at the El Paso Museum in Texas and selling six of her pieces to chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, who placed them in various buildings he owns. Ms. Conrad has also commissioned paintings for the Methodist Hermann Hospital in Sugarland, Texas, in the main reception hall, Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston and the Texas Commerce Bank (now merged with JPMorgan Chase & Co.).
Above all of her accomplishments, Ms. Conrad is proudest of working with children. She always loves seeing kids light up when they come up with an idea on their own, and has seen how children are so open to ideas and ready to explore. A member of the American Fine Arts for Healthcare since 2016, Ms. Conrad received the Foley First Place Award from Dimension Houston V. Likewise, she was selected for inclusion in the 71st edition of Who’s Who in America.
What motivates Ms. Conrad is her amount of success; she liked to be appreciated, and had her work put in places where it would be seen by people. The satisfaction of having people like what she did motivated her and made her feel good about herself. Someone who has inspired her is Georgia O’Keeffe, who she met once. She was working at the museum in her teen years, and she was having a show. She thought if Georgia O’Keeffe could do it, she could, too. Ms. Conrad’s studio is at home, and she is in a neighborhood where she cannot run a business. She may occasionally go downtown or take single students as they come, which she has had people ask about. It keeps her mind going, and she is looking toward being a private teacher.