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Esther Anderson dies at 92

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It was confirmed this morning that Esther Anderson, longtime supporter of the arts in Boston, died this past week. She was 92.

In a message sent yesterday, Dean Deborah Dluhy of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts summarized Anderson's many contributions:

Many in the SMFA community would consider Esther our most ardent and dedicated alumna and advocate. And over the years her passion for the School, its students, faculty and staff, never diminished. She attended the SMFA in her 40s, studied primarily printmaking, graduated in 1964 and kept her ties with the School for the rest of her life. Following graduation, she joined the MFA’s Ladies Committee, was elected a Trustee of the MFA in 1971, later becoming a Vice President of the Board in 1973, and ultimately elected an Honorary Trustee of the MFA in 1990. From 1973 she chaired the Trustee Committee on the School, and served on visiting committees in the Museum as well as at the School. In the late 1970s and 1980s Esther co-chaired with William B. Osgood and James B. Ames of the School’s Capital Campaign. This campaign brought about the renovation of our main building and the construction of a major addition, The Ralph and Eleanor Bradley Building, to provide the SMFA with the space it occupies today. In 1986 the SMFA’s Auditorium was dedicated in her honor to recognize her many years of service. Esther was elected an Honorary Governor of the School’s Board of Governors, serving in that capacity from the Board’s inception in 1992. She was honored in 1998 with the Medal of the SMFA. Her annual picnic at her farm in Sheldonville was always the high point of the School’s fall season, and leaves many of us with many, many happy memories of her, her farm, and her great giving spirit. She will be missed, but never forgotten.

Her family is planning a memorial service on Sunday, September 23 at 2 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 47 East Street (Rte 140) in Wrentham. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts in her memory be made to the Esther D. Anderson Scholarship Fund at the SMFA. Gifts should be sent to Paul Kotakis, Development Office, SMFA, 230 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115.

At Big RED & Shiny, our hearts go out to Mrs. Anderson's family and loved ones.

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About Author

Matthew Nash is the founder of Big Red & Shiny. He is Associate Professor of Photography and New Media at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and was the 2011-12 Chair of the University Faculty Assembly. Nash is half of the artist collaborative Harvey Loves Harvey, who are currently represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston and have exhibited in numerous venues since 1992.

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