Mary Spencer Nay was born in Crestwood, Kentucky. She attended the Cincinnati Art Academy; the Art Students League in New York City with George Grosz, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Will Barnet; the International School of Art in Mexico; and studied with Boris Margo at Provincetown, Massachusetts. After her marriage to Lou Block in 1951, she traveled extensively throughout Europe and Mexico. She was an influential teacher at the old Louisville School of Art and the University of Louisville. Her works have been collected by the Speed Museum of Art in Louisville, the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia, and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in Provincetown. Nay was represented in the ground-breaking exhibition Kentucky Women Artists: 1850-2000 in 2001-2002.