Andrew Gainey Bio
The Andrew Gainey Fine Arts Fund, Inc. has been established as a tribute to a man who was both a talented music teacher and a mentor to each of his students. Dr. Gainey served as a professor at Birmingham Southern College for forty-two years and he also entertained many music lovers with his public performances.
I had the privilege of working with Andrew Gainey the last 16 years of his life. As his accompanist and adopted son, I observed him give all of himself to training and encouraging his students to be the best musicians they could possibly be, regardless of any adversity they faced outside the classroom.
As a young boy growing up in Birmingham, I began taking piano lessons from Ms. Helen White at age 7. My father who worked for U.S. Steel was often laid off due to labor strikes and worked at various jobs to provide for the needs of our family. During those challenging times, my piano lessons were not considered a necessity. Ms. White, however, chose to continue to provide them to me. Her generous support when I faced adversity enabled me to continue my training and begin working as a professional musician at age 13.
Unfortunately, Fine Arts have been severely diminished in our state school systems to cut costs; therefore, it behooves each of us in the private sector to encourage our youth to pursue the Arts. A few minutes spent on the sidewalk in front of the Alabama Theatre will remind us of some of the talented artists that have represented Alabama so well in the past, and time and again we see talented Alabamians showcased on the successful television show, American Idol.
Because of my personal experience as a young Fine Arts student as well as through my experience working closely with Dr. Gainey, I have often felt lead to provide young people with the means to continue their passionate pursuit of Fine Arts. As one person, I am limited in the number of young people I can reach. With the creation of The Andrew Gainey Fine Arts Fund, Inc., we as a community can ensure that many talented young people have the opportunity to pursue Fine Arts despite financial adversity. It is important that our young people be provided with opportunities to add passion and color to their lives through the Arts, and there can be no better way to honor the memory of a great teacher and patron of the Arts than by establishing this fund.
written by Steve Pennington, Founder & President of AGFAF.
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