It was a sun-splashed afternoon on the Kendall campus of Miami Dade College. As I was leaving my shift at the College Prep Writing Lab on November 10, I had the privilege of encountering this ceremony: The dedication of “Big Red” and “Untitled” by Jean Ward, sculptures donated by Martin and Pat Fine.
This was truly an unexpectedly elegant affair on this busy commuter campus. Programs were printed for this event. Palms and a podium were arranged by the Martin and Pat Fine Center for the Arts. The Kendall Campus Brass Quintet played and the Kendall ROTC did a snappy, sharply focused “Presentation of Colors.” At the beginning, Dr. Lourdes Oroza spoke about Martin and Pat Fine’s enduring commitment to the visual arts and to this campus. She noted that many art students, when they graduate and leave the outstanding facilities of the Martin and Pat Fine Center for the Arts, often wish they could return and pursue a four-year degree on this campus.
John Adkins, Department Chairperson of Arts and Philosophy, spoke about how Jean Ward was among the artists who wanted to make a difference at Woodstock. I recall how he allowed, with some gentle humor, that of course many of the students at the ceremony might not be quite sure what Woodstock was.
Soon it was time for Martin and Pat Fine to speak. They told us about their long attachment to art and to MDC. Clearly, Martin was very touched by how MDC has for fifty years offered so many students and newcomers to Miami the chance to get an education and get started on making a life and living in this country.
Pat offered these memorable thoughts about Jean Ward: “She was a skinnny little thing, but she was a giant in her thoughts.” And then she invited the students to come up with a name for “Untitled,” because she thought that it deserved one to honor and continue the boldness of Jean Ward’s memory.
With a warm smile, she offered this parting admonition to students: “Don’t kick it, but touch it. It will become your friend.”