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In Memoriam: Alicia Fine

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Fleeting, light and fast
Hummingbird at my window
Alicia Fine

Alicia: Artist, friend, educator, sister, aunt, daughter, granddaughter, your mighty presence abounds. The hummingbird visits, reminds me of your energy, and I wonder, where are you?

I have known Alicia for over ten years since Ali began teaching in MassArt Youth Programs. Her dedication and caring attention to her students sparked many young people on their creative path.

Alicia turned many young artists on to the art of metalsmithing. In the hot summer months, on the 3rd floor of Collins, heat rising, with fans blowing, Alicia would keep students hydrated with popsicles. Always with an attentive smile, no detail was missed. At the end of each summer, one would always see Alicia moving a VERY LARGE display case to the gallery because carefully displaying and highlighting students beautiful work was essential.

Along with the work Alicia did at MassArt in Youth programs, I also know Ali from the Massachusetts Art Educators Association. We served together on the Awards Committee. One of the strengths Alicia had was her focused attention to details. Alicia helped to reframe the Awards Committee the year we served, so that the process was more transparent, and the nominations were judged externally. We enjoyed being able to honor Art Educators in this way.

Ali, Thank you for the many students you have touched, here is a story from one, Jessica: Ms. Fine, as I knew her, was and is a cherished part of my life and someone who I truly will never forget. I was a former student of hers…way back in 2002 (hard to believe that is almost 20 years ago)! She recently told me that I was her student her very first year of teaching which surprised me. I was your quintessential “damaged” adolescent who had lost all hope in adults at the age of 14/15 when I met her. She became, and remained, a guardian angel to me. It’s hard to put into words what she did for me. She took me under her wing and gave me hope in myself and in adults. She wrote letters to the court on my behalf when there was a custody case between my parents. She found spaces for me to eat lunch in the school when I didn’t want to be around other students. She helped me navigate friendships and encouraged me to join after-school activities. She helped me apply to colleges and stayed in touch every step of the way once I began college. After college, she guided me when I changed careers (to become an educator!) and attended my wedding. We would get together in person about once a year to catch up on things. 

When I visited her in May we spoke about how we first met in her painting class and how she didn’t give up on me like others had… she told me she went to the guidance office and asked the counselor for advice and the counselor had said “just keep showing up” and Ali sure did… and never stopped. No matter how old I got. It wasn’t just the small actions she did… it was that I knew she would always be there.

At my high school graduation. On the top of my cap, where most kids thank their parents or put a quote, I put “THX MS. FINE”. 

Thank you Alicia, Ali, Ms. Fine. You are missed.

Offered by Liz Reiser with permission from Jessica Delande to share her beautiful story.

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