In 2024, artist Cecilia Vásquez was commissioned to create an 8’x12’ abstract visual art piece in Boston Arts Academy’s lobby.

The painting was recently unveiled in a public gathering. The red rose is Carmen; the pink one is me. The piece is a tribute to our founding of the school and also “speaks” to the generations of students and teachers we worked with. It is a deeply moving tribute.

In addition to the painting, two former teachers produced a short film that documents the process of creating the painting as well as the decades-long relationship that Carmen and I enjoyed. I hope that generations of students, teachers and leaders will consider what it is to have a colleague, creative disruptor and friend for as long as I did– forty-four years!

Carmen saw the good in people; she could see their brilliance. Young people made her laugh– even when they acted out. The film is titled, “Seeing Brilliance,” and I humbly suggest that, perhaps, that is our collective legacy.

I am deeply appreciative of everyone who made this happen. Deep thanks to our wonderful alums who funded this: Carmelo Aresco and Nicole Wesser Adkins both class of 2002. You embody BAA’s shared values: passion with balance; diversity with respect, vision with integrity and community with social responsibility. You make me so proud.

I look forward to talking with Carmen through this painting when I visit BAA.