Congratulations to Laura Marotta

“For the last 27 years, recipients of the Erskine award have proven, time and time again, just what women leaders are capable of,” stated Executive Director, Deborah Hall. “They’ve blazed trails, shattered glass ceilings, and laid the foundation for future generations of women and people of color to succeed.”

Laura is currently Executive Director and oversees all programming for Creative Hub Worcester, a non-profit focused on using art as a vehicle for healing and social change. Ms. Marotta was an art educator in several different school systems for over seven years. She previously worked at both Diamond Newman Fine Arts as well as Newbury Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts as a fine arts sales consultant. She is currently the Past-President of the Massachusetts Art Education Association, and is a practicing artist working mainly in watercolor and pen and ink. Currently Ms. Marotta oversees all programming for Creative Hub, including childcare, youth arts classes, adult workshops, gallery exhibitions, events, and more. She currently serves on the board for Love Your Labels, an LGBTQ+ youth focused advocacy organization.

Image credits: YWCA Central Massachusetts and Laura Marotta.

Student and Funding Opportunities

You will find many new opportunities highlighted on the MAEA website for both students and teachers. Be sure to visit the opportunities tab for funding opportunities, job listings, student contests, and summer programs for students and teachers.

There are a variety of funding opportunities listed, including the Schacht Tools for School (deadline March 1); Bow Seat Educator Innovation Awards (deadline July 1); and the Mary Lou Anderson Reflections Arts Enhancement Grants (deadline September 21). See all funding opportunities here.

There are new student opportunities, including virtual classes for students in grades 7-12 through MassArt Youth Programs and a variety of art competitions. See all student opportunities here.

If you have an opportunity to share, please email

Congratulations to Lisa Donovan

The Arts Learning Irene Buck Service to Arts Education award honors an individual for distinguished and prolonged service as an advocate for arts education. The recipient exemplifies commitment and service to, and support of the arts, and arts-education communities. It was named to honor Irene Buck, President of the Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Education for many years, who was the first recipient in 1998.

This year’s recipient is Lisa Donovan. Lisa is a professor in the Fine and Performing Arts Department at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in North Adams, Massachusetts. Previously she was an associate professor of Education and the director of the Creative Arts in Learning Division at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Lisa has been a passionate advocate for arts education her entire career. As Director of the Creative Compact for Collective Impact (C4) project to create a blueprint for arts education for Berkshire County, and co-director of the Berkshire Regional Arts Integration Network (BRAINworks), funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, she has worked to increase access to the arts for Berkshire students making a positive impact across the County.

Lisa has broad experience working as an arts educator and administrator in a variety of organizations including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Berkshire Opera Company, Barrington Stage Company, University of Massachusetts’ Department of Theater, Boston University’s Theater, Visual Arts and Tanglewood Institutes.

In addition, Lisa served as executive director of the Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Education and is the coeditor and author of a five-book series on arts integration published by Shell Education, Strategies to Integrate the Arts Series, and has published widely on arts integration and rural arts education.

Her research Leveraging Change: Increasing Access to Arts Education in Rural Areas (Donovan & Brown, 2017) was featured by the National Endowment for the Arts. Lisa was voted Best Professor in 2017 as part of the Berkshire Eagle’s Best of the Berkshires competition and was a finalist in the 2018 Berkshire Trendsetters Award for Creative Economy Standout.


The 34th Annual Champions of Arts Education Advocacy Awards Celebration will be held on November 17th at Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge, MA 01566

This year’s event will be live AND livestreamed! Stay tuned for more information about this event.

In Memoriam: Alicia Fine

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.

If you have additional images you would like to share of Alicia Fine, please send them to

September MAEA Watch Party

The PD Committee has finalized details for the 2021-2022 Watch Party Discussion Series. The first session is Sep 8 at 6:00 pm ET.  Here you can find more info & register!
The MAEA Watch Party Discussion Series are ten companion discussions to the monthly NAEA webinars, facilitated by MAEA leaders, members, and selected guests who bring their unique experiences to each month’s topic. Watching the NAEA webinars is not a prerequisite, however doing so will enhance attendees’ general knowledge of the topic. For the 2021 – 2022 Watch Party series, MAEA facilitators will engage participants in open conversation, share helpful resources, and promote a supportive space for all to join in. These discussions will relate back to the theme of the NAEA webinars, but will include stand alone content so that they are not exactly the same.

New ED&I Director-Elect & President-Elect

The MAEA Board of Directors is pleased to welcome two new board members. Please join the MAEA Board of Directors in welcoming Emily Moran as our first ever ED&I Director-Elect and Maureen Creegan-Quinquis to the role of President-Elect.
Emily will be leading our ED&I Committee in the important work of ensuring that our organization honors and includes people from all communities, especially those who have been historically excluded. If you are interested in getting involved in our ED&I Committee, please email Emily at
Maureen is stepping into a short term as President-Elect and will be taking over as President come January, 2021. If you are interested in connecting with Maureen, please contact her at
We are so excited to welcome these two new board members and look forward to continuing this important work.

ESSER Funding & Advocating for your Art Program

Earlier this summer, MAEAs Advocacy Liaison, Alice Gentili attended an important advocacy webinar organized by NAEA. This Town Hall webinar focused on the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funding (ESSER) and Visual Arts, Design, and Media Arts Education.
If you haven’t already, the MAEA Board suggests you first start by reading Alice’s article in the most recent edition of the MAEA News (Vol. 7–No. 1 Summer Edition 2021). Her article can be found on page 26. There you will find more information about harnessing ESSER funding, as well as additional links to resources. Then we suggest you check out the slide deck from the NAEA Town Hall and the webinar, if you have time.
Additionally, if you have any questions or ideas for how MAEA can support your advocacy efforts, please reach out to Alice at