Dallas is a great city because of the generous spirit of the people, the contributors, the patrons, the philanthropists, the leaders, the artists, and the friends. The late Nancy Hanley was all these things.
Nancy Hanley is one of the first people who come to mind when one thinks about the goodness of Dallas.
Nancy with her husband Tim Hanley were comfortable with the grand gesture like contributing the Hanley Barrel Vault Gallery to the Dallas Museum of Art; Tim serving as president of the Board of Trustees of the Dallas Museum of Art during an incredibly important and productive time; and recognizing the genius of architect O’Neil Ford and renovating the most important home he designed even before the resurgence of interest in midcentury or Texas Modern Homes.
Nancy Hanley was also brilliant at the intimate gesture. She would open up her home to international guests, architects from across the country, and those in Dallas who are passionate about architecturally significant homes or Texas art.
She gave many people their first opportunity to see a home designed by architect O’Neil Ford, the grandfather of Texas Modern Architecture. Nancy Hanley admired and discussed this modern architecture derived from the indigenous pioneer homes. The open floor plan, hand carved detail and courtyards built into the site resonated with her architectural aesthetic and her own life as an artist.
Nancy Hanley had a keen eye for good art, but she was more than just a collector or an artist. She was passionate about art, artists and the community. She was genuine friends with many artists and personally rooted for their success in all aspects of their lives. An underlying elegance and an aristocratic self-confidence allowed Nancy to exude an unselfconscious warmth, a sense of fun, and a mischievous smile that made everyone around her feel like they were part of something even bigger than the project or conversation on hand.
Just as Nancy Hanley had time for dignitaries, she always had time for students or those in the community who shared her love of art, architecture and Dallas.
Whether it was helping the Dallas Contemporary, an artist, a family member or a friend, her generous spirit always prevailed. We will all long remember Nancy Hanley and her contributions. Dallas will forever benefit from the thoughts she generated, the institutions she nurtured and the friendships she cultivated.
Thank you Nancy Hanley for your enduring friendship to Dallas.