Finding Fay

August 4th, 2015 in Blog with NO COMMENTS

Celebrating Late Music Center Friend, Fay Chandler

Events Inspired by the Spirit of Artist Fay Chandler
Boston arts, cultural and advocacy organizations will gather to present a free family festival inspired by the creative spirit of artist Fay Chandler. Events are scheduled for several venues throughout the greater Boston area and will be held from September 10 through Chandler’s birthday on September 15. Audience participation will be encouraged at several of the events which will be presented by many of the region’s leading arts, music and dance organizations.
“After my mother’s death last winter, our family decided we wanted to honor her life, her achievements and her spirit in a way that all Boston might enjoy,”said her son, Alfred D. (“Appy”) Chandler. “Mom loved to see people collaborate, and she would have been thrilled to see so many of her favorite organizations combine to make this festival a truly special occasion open to all.” 

Highlights include:
Thursday, September 10: 5:30 pm, Boston City Hall
Presentation of the Fay Chandler Award for Emerging Artists in memory of Fay Chandler, with support from the Chandler Family

September 12: 12 – 4 pm, “Finding Fay at the BCA Fair” Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama
Arts, cultural, and social service organizations loved by Fay come together to celebrate with exhibits, performances, readings, displays, and interactive activities for every age. 
On September 12, the Music Center will host an Instrument Petting Zoo on the Boston Center for the Arts Plaza with displays of Mass Art’s Sparc Car and an Art Connection Sculpture made especially for the day. 
Go to for a complete schedule and participating organizations.

September 13: 11 am – 2 pm, Guided nature walks and painting nature presented at Mass Audubon’s Nature Center on Mattapan in partnership with Montserrat College of Art

Sun. Sept. 13: time TBD, Cambridge Arts Association
Art-making activities recalling Fay’s role at the gallery

September 15: 7 pm, Concert at the Hatch Shell presented by the Boston Landmarks Orchestra
An online talk about the cultural vitality of Boston presented by Sebastian Smee for the Boston Foundation, to be posted and run on the Finding Fay website until December 31
About Fay Chandler
In late 1960, Fay Chandler was a 39-year-old mother of four who was unsure what to do with her life. She wanted to make a difference, but didn’t know how. She was living in Brookline; her husband taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His passion was writing history. She wanted a passion of her own. She enjoyed painting mugs which she sold at her children’s school’s fundraiser. Various classes followed: during the summer on Nantucket Island, during the winter at Boston’s Museum School.

In 1963, her husband accepted a job at Johns Hopkins University and the family moved to Baltimore. Fay applied and was accepted into the Hoffberger Graduate School at the Maryland Institute College of Art. After graduating in 1967, she opened a gallery in Baltimore’s very blue collar Fell’s Point neighborhood. In 1973, the family returned to New England when her husband accepted a professorship at Harvard Business School. Fay ventured into Boston’s South End where a community arts center was struggling to find itself. She rented studio space and became a stalwart supporter of the new Boston Center for the Arts.

In 1989, she used an inheritance to buy a long-decommissioned fire station in Brighton which she resurrected as artists’ studios. As Fay aged and her inventory of paintings and sculptures grew, she realized she needed a creative way to place them. In 1994, she gathered a group of friends; together they developed the concept of an organization that would act as a broker between artists with art to give and social service organizations with walls to cover. The concept became a reality. The Art Connection was born a year later and has now expanded into nearly a dozen cities.

Over the next 20 years, Fay continued to paint, holding three major retrospectives at the Cyclorama of the BCA. As her inheritance increased, so did her support of the arts and the underserved. Fay particularly believed in helping young people: as such she supported a vast array of arts programs throughout eastern Massachusetts. Fay Chandler died in Brighton on March 3, 2015. She was 92, a widow, living in her beloved Engine House in Brighton and still painting.

– A. D. Chandler


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