Melissa Nelson

Painter

It seems art has always been in my life, thanks to an interior designer mom, an artist aunt and Saturday classes at the Cleveland Art Museum when I was old enough to carry the prerequisite folding seat to various galleries. To my surprise I’ve collected several awards for my work and, even more surprising, folks have purchased many of my paintings.

With an Art History minor in college, Melissa embarked on a career as a writer and editor, followed by 15 years in Finance, followed by 20 years as Executive Director of several nonprofit organizations. During all these unlikely careers she took art classes at night or on weekends at the Denver Art Museum, Metro State College and the Denver Art Students’ League.

Finally retiring in 2014, she was able to join the fledgling Vail Valley Art Guild’s workshops and begin painting and drawing with many talented (and becoming talented!) local artists. The Guild gave her the opportunity to show her work in four galleries, all Eagle County libraries, and at Colorado Mountain College in our annual juried fine art show. Other careers along the way have enabled her to step into the role of Board President (and Treasurer and grant writer) of this wonderful all-volunteer organization. She hopes you will also join VVAG and help us grow.

While working full time as Executive Director of the Eagle River Watershed Council, Melissa spent three years as a ski instructor at Beaver Creek. The Board decided to give me a “health benefit” which was a ski pass so she could resign from teaching and devote more time to research, education and projects within Eagle County’s rivers and streams. Key to our rivers’ health is the snowpack and, while not a recognized sport, snowmobiling to our reservoirs in mid winter and monitoring water quality and fish health in barely melted snowy rivers sure felt like some kind of wonderful outdoor sport to me. After retiring from the Watershed Council in 2014, she joined the newly formed Vail Valley Art Guild.