Collage Artist Nancy Scheinman
Towson resident Nancy Scheinman is widely recognized as one of the pre-eminent collage artists in the United States. Her enigmatic multilayered works are featured in corporate, private and public collections around the world, including those of the McDonalds Corporation, The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Over the years, she has had more than 100 exhibitions in the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Asia, including at the Tucson Museum in Arizona; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and The Nepalese Academy of Fine Arts in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Nancy layers sheets of copper, paint, canvas and clay tiles on a wood panel to create narrative paintings that are both beautiful and complex. Her process is complex as well, as she hand-embosses copper sheets, and then uses acid washes to create a patina on the surface. Next, she paints and prints on the copper to form material for her collage elements which are nailed into her composition and painted. In her work, mystery is combined with the mundane to infuse her visual stories with an obsessive and vibrant power.
As Nancy and her husband, Jim Wheeler, began contemplating retirement several years ago, they knew the transition would eventually involve downsizing from their spacious Stoneleigh Tudor into something more manageable. They did not, however, consider moving to be an urgent priority—until, that is, they visited a friend who had recently moved to Legacy at Stoneleigh Summit, the newly built development less than a mile from their home that caters to empty-nesters 55 and up. As all but one of the development’s 36 units had already sold, they had to act fast.
“We immediately realized these new homes had exactly what we were looking for,” she says. “A master bedroom on the first floor, a spacious open floor plan for entertaining and a large, light-filled studio for my painting.”
When not creating world-class art, Nancy channels much of her time and energy back into the community. For the past six years, she has been a member of the Rotary Club of Towsontowne. Last year, as president, she initiated the club’s local signature project, See2Learn, in partnership with the YMCA Headstart Program and Maryland Society for Sight, that provides annual vision screening and literacy advocacy for more than 1,200, 3- to 5-year-olds in Baltimore County and city. Under her leadership, the club also launched its largest international initiative, The Project to Alleviate Corneal Blindness in Bangladesh, which provides training to medical students for corneal transplants. She is currently president of the Towsontowne Rotary Foundation Inc.
Nancy is also the founder of NS Studios, a mentoring business she established to provide experiential learning environments in schools that are created by young local artists from her designs. She recently stepped away from the company to pursue her artwork full time, but rather than selling it—or closing up shop altogether—she gifted the company to her employees, so they could continue providing a launchpad for other young art school grads as they embark on careers in the arts.
While Nancy and Jim (who remains chairman of architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross after his retirement from full-time work in December), settle into their new home and adjust to the rhythm of a less-structured existence, neither has any intention of slowing down. They love to travel and are planning many upcoming trips.
Having traveled many times to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where Nancy frequently exhibits her work, the couple purchased a second home there a few years ago. There, they can enjoy the unique art and culture of Santa Fe, the hiking in the high mountain desert and the unique beauty of big sky country. While they plan to split time between the two homes, Baltimore will continue to be home base.