Nell Boardman grew up in rural Iowa and attended the Iowa State Teachers College and Traphagen School of Design. She later studied at the National Academy of Design in New York and with Victor Pirard, Ivan Olinsky, Alan Swisher, and Roger Curtis.
She became a major figure in the art culture of Greenwich Village in the mid century, belonging to many professional art organizations and often serving as an officer. She exhibited widely, notably at the Washington Square Outdoor Exhibit, an important biannual event which she was instrumental in saving from dissolution. Her contributions both artistically and administratively to the WSOE resulted in the organization presenting an annual memorial award in her name. She also exhibited with the Society of Independent Artists and the American Artists Professional League.
Bass Rocks is a tourist attraction on the shores of Gloucester, MA.
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