A Heart for Art

Nancy Dillen is a prolific artist and former art professor who is truly passionate about the arts. She not only loves creating beautiful art, but she is also driven to do her part to support and encourage fellow artists and teachers in her community. She is a founding member of Ten Women in Art, an organization that promotes women artists and exhibits their work regularly at different locations throughout the southeast.

Dillen specializes in painting, with a specific focus on oil painting. She is most well known for her use of color and her “magically realistic” style of painting, which she describes as realism with a fun twist that adds fantasy with a surreal aspect. In addition to painting, she recently began incorporating drawings into her portfolio. 

Dillen retired in 2006 after a successful 35-year career at Brevard Community College (now Eastern Florida State College), where she served as the Art Department’s Program Coordinator and was an art professor. 

An important part of her career includes the summers she spent at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. She took classes at Arrowmont for 20-plus summers, studying everything from painting and acrylics, to jewelry making and ceramics. She also taught classes there for about 10 years. 

She credits these summers with having a huge impact on her development and success as both an artist and a teacher, motivating and inspiring her to share new skills and insights with her students. Knowing what a difference this opportunity made in her career, she wanted to give public school art teachers in Brevard County a similar opportunity so that they could be recharged after an intense year of teaching.

That is how the scholarship endowment program established earlier this year by Dillen, along with her husband and Sandy Scannelli, President/CEO of Community Foundation for Brevard, was born. This program’s first efforts sent five public school art teachers in Brevard County to an intensive weeklong art camp at Arrowmont this past summer. 

For the summer of 2017, the goal is to be able to send another five public school art teachers through this program. In the more distant future, the program may also be open to art teachers who work outside of the public school system.