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Scholarship Interview: Nora Rule Barber, Artist

Artist, instructor and 1990 Arts Advocates scholarship recipient Nora Rule Barber lives and works in Spring, TX, just north of Houston.   She graduated with honors from Ringling College in 1992 after earning a Bachelor's Degree in Fine and Studio Arts with a major in Ceramics and a minor in Sculpture. 

When asked about the impact our scholarship had all those years ago,  Nora comments,  "My family did not have a lot of money to send me to college,  so receiving that scholarship made all the difference in the world.   Even with your financial assistance, I still worked several jobs on and off campus to pay for art supplies and room & board.   I had to stretch every dollar and I thank you for your support." 

A fond memory Nora shared of her time at Ringling was when she,  along with 17 other fine arts students, created ceramic figurines of themselves and placed them in a time capsule which was then buried beneath the photography studio that was being built.   With so many changes to the campus over the past 30 years,  I wonder if construction crews have unearthed those figurines?

Upon graduation from college,  Nora began working in production art.    One of the companies that she worked for sold to major furniture stores throughout the world, but that work left her unfulfilled.   She states, "I felt like I was only making my employer money; I wasn't doing any good for others.  I knew I wanted to serve a purpose with my art and it was then that I decided to teach high school art in Broward County, FL.   My art teachers in high school made a tremendous impact on my life and I wanted to pay it forward to the next generation of artists."    She adds,  "Inspiration is everything and can make the mundane extraordinary.   I was so happy to share my love of art with those students so they could learn to view things through an artist's eye." 

Between her 9 years as a high school art teacher and many more years teaching private and community classes in two states prior to Texas,  Nora has educated more than 2,000 students.  She has indeed paid it forward as some of those students have become art teachers themselves and others have become professional graphic designers and working artists. 

In her 30+ years of creating art,  Nora's body of work includes oil and acrylic painting (landscapes/nature/wildlife, portraits, pets, etc.); murals; graphic design; textile design; caricatures; cartooning and jewelry design.   She sells her work in shows,  on her website and by commission. 

In her paintings,  Nora's work is inspired by the subtle glow of light through a leaf, the colors in shadows and the beauty of nature.  She describes her creative process as,  "the challenge of making an impact out of what sparks a little life in me.   We have all experienced being struck by a thought, feeling or observation.   I use that spark as a starting point in my art and hopefully affect others in an intentional way." 

Lately, Nora is scaling back on commissions and making time to create the art that has been in her head for so long.   "In my painting, I am branching out and moving towards a looser, expressionistic style of realism and abstraction blended together – like I used to do with my sculpture,"  says Nora, adding,   "As a lifelong art student myself,  I'm again studying figure drawing - both pencil and charcoal - and looking forward to getting back to ceramics, sculpting and stone carving." 

Back in Texas, Nora is a member of The Lone Star Art Guild, The Woodlands Art League and Conroe Art League and has garnered numerous ribbons in shows for her work. To learn more about Nora and her art, please click here to visit her website:

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