Nancy Calcutt, a native Northeasterner born in Massachusetts in the 1950's, grew up in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. While in her 20’s, she moved to the southern United States, first to coastal North Carolina and then Nashville, Tennessee.
Calcutt and her musician husband currently live in Paducah, Kentucky where they have resided since 2003. They moved to Paducah to become part of Paducah's Artist Relocation Program, an urban revitalization program that used art and the creation of an arts district to save an historic neighborhood, the Lowertown neighborhood in Paducah, from further decline. The Lowertown Arts District is now in its fifteenth plus year; it is a nationally recognized art community and continues to grow and evolve.
Calcutt inherited artistic genes from her dad who always wanted to be an artist but was too practical a person to follow that dream. She is following her father's dream and it has taken her on quite a journey. Always the restless seeker, Calcutt is the gypsy of her large family. She has lived in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and currently, Kentucky. Her first introduction to professional artists was during childhood, around her pre-teen years, when her family visited Provincetown, Massachusetts, an artists' community at the tip of the Cape Cod peninsula in Massachusetts. In Provincetown, Calcutt became captivated by the portrait artists drawing pastel portraits from live sitters outdoors. These artists and their portraits seemed magical to her and she never forgot that moment, later teaching herself to create pastel portraits. Additionally, Provincetown made an impression because it was an active, successful art community, extremely bohemian, fun, and full of possibilities for artistic production. This idea of a community that was known for art and where art was a viable economic option stayed with her and may have been the impetus for Calcutt joining an artist community in Paducah, Kentucky.
An academically trained artist, Calcutt earned a BFA, Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee and an MFA, Master of Fine Arts from the University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi. For many years, she taught drawing and painting at the college level. Calcutt left her full time teaching position in 2001 in order to devote all of her time to her art.
Calcutt’s artistic inspiration emerge from her life experiences and interests: a deep love and connection to nature and animals, especially dogs and horses, and a passion for music and dance. Besides visual art, she sings, plays mandolin and various rhythm instruments like tambourine; she also loves to dance and watch dancers perform. Calcutt’s musical background includes playing and singing professionally with her singer/songwriter husband. These are the subjects that populate her mixed media oil paintings.
Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions earning numerous awards and honors. Her awards and honors include two Best of Show awards, and artist development grant, a purchase award from the Pastel Society of America and a work of art in the permanent collection of Binney & Smith Corporation. Additionally, her work has been included in the prestigious Larson Biennial National Drawing Cometition. One of Calcutt's most distinct honors was to have her artwork travel to Australia with the "Works on Paper Exchange Exhibit" at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia.