Colorado & Regional Art

Mermaid and Dancers

Mermaid and Dancers

Year late 1970s

Artist Mina Conant (1910–1999, American)

Media oil, gold and silver leaf on canvas

Dimensions 60 x 36 inches

Mina Conant was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, but grew up in Denver and reportedly began making art by age five. She graduated from East High School and then pursued a BFA at the University of Denver (DU) where she met her future husband, John E. Billmyer. In 1933 they moved to Cleveland while Billmyer earned two degrees. They married, had three daughters and Conant continued her art studies. She worked in oils, watercolors, prints, sculpture, textile wall hangings and stained glass and is best known for her imaginative surrealist paintings of children, animals and fantastical creatures. In 1946 the family returned to Denver and she taught figure drawing and crafts at DU until 1950. Over the years she also taught at the Denver Art Museum, Denver Public High Schools (1950s) and the Children’s Museum in Denver. Conant participated in exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum and the Neusteters Gallery of Fine Arts. Her work was included in the 6th Midwest Biennial Exhibition at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska in 1960. Conant and Billmyer were founding members of the 15 Colorado Artists, a modernist group that broke from the Denver Artists Guild in 1948 and were active in the Colorado chapter of Artists Equity Association of which she was president from 1964 to 1966. In the late 1950s she also served as vice president of the Community Art Gallery in Denver’s Cherry Creek neighborhood. Protesting against things she disliked as a woman of conscience, she joined picketers at DU during the Vietnam War, took cookies with her daughter Johanna to protesters at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant near Denver and campaigned against billboards which she considered an “aesthetic blight.” After she and Billmyer relocated to Tucson following his retirement from DU in 1977, she continued her social activism in her new home. She predeceased her husband in 1999.

ON VIEW in Visitor Lounge 18

Signature unsigned

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2004.2315