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Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796


SharkBytes Archives


Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

(954) 262-5353
(800) 541-6682 x25353
Fax: (954) 262-3954

World War II Veteran and Pioneering Art Educator Conni Gordon Makes $500,000 Legacy Gift to NSU Art Museum



NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale-Davie, Fla. – A military veteran who served with the U.S. Marine Corps Special Services during World War II, Miami resident Conni Gordon is also a world-famous art educator recognized since 1980 in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific art teacher in the world. Gordon’s generosity extends to NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, where she recently made a $500,000 legacy gift that will support museum education programs.

“My passion has not been what I can do for myself, but what I can do for others,” said Gordon.

Her legacy gift creates the Conni Gordon Education Series at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale that will help bring to fruition her philanthropic goal of educating millions of people within the South Florida community and internationally through the museum and its website. Nova Southeastern University (NSU) inducted Gordon into its Fellows Society during a ceremony at Grand Oaks Country Club on October 27, 2016.  Her gift further supports NSU’s Realizing Potential philanthropic campaign.

Bonnie Clearwater, NSU Art Museum Director and Chief Curator said, “Conni’s creativity and business savvy is inspiring. She was a pioneer in teaching art as a means to inspire creative thinking and reduce stress in the military, and has successfully applied her methods to encourage leaders in the business world to think outside the box. As the earliest entertaining / educating painting teacher on TV, Conni became a beloved personality in South Florida and on national late night TV shows. We are honored to perpetuate her legacy at NSU Art Museum.”

An innovator in the field of art education and creativity, Conni Gordon received her formal training in the visual arts and philosophy at Columbia University in New York and Ecole des Beaux Arts in France. In 1943, she was one of only a few women who enlisted in the Marines.  During World War II while in the U.S. Marines Special Services, Gordon taught over 50,000 Marines how to draw, providing them with a welcome relief from the war.  Gordon’s experience led her to create a patented 4-step art method called TILS© (THINK-it, INK-it, LINK-it then SYNC-it) where anyone can create a “picture in minutes.” Using this method, she empowered over 17 million people through art in 80 countries.

Gordon is the author of 41 art instruction books, which have sold over 15 million copies. She had a long-running television show on Miami’s WTVJ-NBC6, and has been featured on numerous national and international programs over the past 60 years. Her students are former presidents, CEOs and celebrities, including Johnny Carson, David Letterman, Jack Paar and Steve Allen.

In 2014, a generous donation from Gordon helped establish NSU Art Museum’s Art of Teaching Art series, dedicated to presenting innovative methods in art education for children, teens and adults.

NSU Art Museum is located at One East Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL. For additional information, please visit nsuartmuseum.org or call 954-525-5500.

Please visit www.nova.edu for more information about NSU and realizingpotential.nova.edu for more information on the largest fundraising campaign in NSU history.

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About NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

Founded in 1958, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is a premier destination for exhibitions and programs encompassing all facets of civilization’s visual history. The museum is located midway between Miami and Palm Beach in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s arts and entertainment district, one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. The Art Museum’s distinctive 83,000 square-foot modernist building opened in 1986, and was designed by renowned architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. It contains over 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 256-seat auditorium, museum store and cafe. Bonnie Clearwater, who became NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale’s Director and Chief Curator in 2013, directs the museum’s international exhibition program. In 2008, the Art Museum became part of Nova Southeastern University, one of the largest private research universities in the United States.

Among the highlights of NSU Art Museum’s 7,000-work permanent collection is the largest collection of paintings and drawings by American realist William Glackens, the largest collection in the U.S. of the post-World War II avant-garde Cobra artists of Brussels, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, and an extensive collection of Latin American and Cuban modern and contemporary art. The museum recently received a significant promised gift of 100 works by multi-cultural and women artists from the highly regarded contemporary art collection of David Horvitz and Francie Bishop Good. The museum’s research centers include the William J. Glackens Research Collection and Study Center and the Dr. Stanley and Pearl Goodman Research and Study Center for Latin American Art.

Exhibitions and programs at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale are made possible in part by a challenge grant from the David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation. Funding is also provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Nova Southeastern University, Hudson Family Foundation, Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. NSU Art Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Educational programming and initiatives at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale are supported by major funding from the David and Francie Horvitz Family Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Joseph & Winifred Amaturo Education Foundation, Inc., Lillian S. Wells Foundation Inc., Jerry Taylor & Nancy Bryant Foundation, the Hudson Family Foundation, The Related Group, Beaux Arts, Community Foundation of Broward, Wells Fargo, the Wege Foundation, Charles F. and Esther M. Frye Foundation, MAI Foundation and Friends of NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale.


October 28, 2016

Emily McCrater | NSU Art Museum
emccrater@moafl.org | (954) 262-0246

Donna Fields | NSU Art Museum
donnafields@gmail.com | (954) 258-1712