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Finding Fay Festival



By Brian Goslow

Boston & Surrounding Locations- The Finding Fay Festival, which takes place September 10 through 15, celebrates the life and spirit of local artist and philanthropist Fay Chandler with a series of events, memorials and concerts.
“Finding Fay at the BCA Fair” takes place on Saturday, September 12 from noon-4 p.m. at the Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St., Boston. The fair brings arts, cultural and social service organizations loved by Fay together to celebrate with exhibits, performances, readings, displays and interactive activities for every age.
Events include instrument playgrounds, performances by Actors Shakespeare, Underground Railway and Nora Theater, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Arts Academy, Conservatory Lab Charter School, and Handel and Haydn Society, painting and sculpture making, led by students from Mass College of Art, Montserrat College of Art, Boston Arts Academy and Artists for Humanity, and an art giveaway organized by The Art Connection.
A memorial of Fay Chandler’s Life and Legacy takes place on Saturday, September 12 at 3:15 at Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St, Boston, MA. All are invited for an uplifting memorial service officiated by the Reverends Ray Hammond, Gloria White Hammond and Robert Randolph with remarks by friends and family and music by Bethel AME Church.
Free guided nature walks and painting nature presented in partnership with Montserrat College of Art will be held on Sunday, September 13 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Mass Audubon’s Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill St, Mattapan, MA.
Free art-making activities recalling Fay’s role at the gallery at the Cambridge Art Association, 25 Lowell St, Cambridge, MA. will take place on Sunday, September 13 from noon-3 p.m.
A free concert featuring some of Chandler’s favorite music will be presented by the Boston Landmarks Orchestra on Tuesday, September 15 from 7-9 p.m. at Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge.


Her son, Alfred D. (“Appy”) Chandler, shares the story of his mother’s life: “In 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. As she enjoyed painting coffee mugs, she wrote away for a painting course offered on the back of a matchbook. Classes followed: first on Nantucket Island and later, more formally, 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 ability to give grew, 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.”
An online talk about the cultural vitality of Boston presented by Sebastian Smee for the Boston Foundationwill be posted and run on the Finding Fay website until December 31.

For a complete schedule of events and participants, please visit