Saturday evening, family members and friends gathered for an evening of art in memory of Shelley Nance.

The event displayed 214 framed and matted drawings and three pieces of sculpture created by the blossoming art student before her life was cut short in 2009.

Shelley’s mother, Cynthia Nash said it took her three hours to set up the exhibit, which took up the display area, stage and lower floor of the Ellis County Art Museum. The exhibit represents on a fraction of the work Shelley produced.

“We weren’t expecting a big crowd, but I put out the word – I wanted people to see her talent,” Cynthia said. “It took three months to sort and get it all matted and framed and organized.”

Many of Shelley’s pieces include a narrative she wrote explaining the work and her motivation, giving viewers an inside look into the artist’s process.

The event will benefit the Shelley Nance Art Scholarship fund, which will award a graduating senior of Italy High School planning to pursue a degree in art. The first scholarship will be awarded this month.

Anne Fox, who used to be the center manager of the Waxahachie Workforce Center of Texas Workforce Solutions, where Cynthia is still employed, drove in from Whitney for the show.

“I was on staff when the tragedy happened,” Fox said. “I had seen a few of the pieces displayed in Cynthia’s cubicle. Shelley was a very talented young woman.”

Shelley Nance was fulfilling her dream of becoming an artist when her life was taken Sept. 11, 2009. She grew up in Italy and graduated from Italy High School in 2007. After placing fourth in a national competition, she was awarded a scholarship to the Art Institute of Dallas, where she majored in multi-media arts and animation. She was within weeks of completing her second year of school when she was murdered.

Visitors viewed the artwork with a respectful admiration, congregating to point out elements of interest as they worked their way through the exhibit.

Loree Scott, who also works with Cynthia, said she came to show her support for the family.

“Shelley and my twin boys went to youth camp together. She was so talented,” Scott said.

Samantha Michelle Nance was born April 7, 1989, and started drawing in elementary school. In high school she decided she wanted to create characters for video games and began writing her own story lines and designing characters. Attending the Art Institute started her on the path to fulfill her dream of earning a bachelor’s degree in multi-media art and animation.

Contact Rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.