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U.S. District Court Eastern District of NY honors artist Nancy Fabrizio

April 29, 2019 By Andy Katz
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Chief Judge Dora Irizarry and the U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York honored one of their own by holding a show of works by longtime court employee and professional painter Nancy Fabrizio, who succumbed to cancer in 2012.

“The secret life Nancy Fabrizio had was a very special life,” said Eastern District Magistrate Judge Robert Levy, who worked alongside Fabrizio prior to her retirement in 2007.

“You were all so good to her,” said the artist’s mother, Marie Fabrizio, who said she had taught her daughter to sketch when she was just three. “She could draw anything. And she loved all lawyers.”

Fabrizio colleagues Suzanne McVetty (right) and Virginia Edele.

Prior to her retirement, Fabrizio had worked for the federal government for 40 years. She began working at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York in 1982, serving as a victim-witness coordinator, paralegal and attorney hiring coordinator, and was many people’s first contact inside in the federal court system.

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After Fabrizio retired, she pursued painting and teaching full time. She worked primarily in watercolors and oils, loving the “fluidity and surprise of watercolors and the texture and richness of oils.”

She specialized particularly in “en plein air” painting, a movement allied with Impressionism that encouraged leaving the confines of the artist’s studio and seeking inspiration in the wider world that included among its practitioners such masters as Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Winslow Homer.

Left, former U.S. Attorney Mark Lesko and U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue.

On hand for the opening were Fabrizio’s colleagues and fellow National Art League members Suzanne McVey and Virginia Edele.

“She had a great sense of color,” said Edele, pointing to a Fabrizio oil that she had loaned to the exhibit. “We traveled to France, to Maine, even Taos, New Mexico.”

“I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel extensively,” Fabrizio wrote. “I have always been inspired by the mystical shores of Ireland, the moodiness of Maine and the age-old architecture of Europe. These beautiful places have captured my imagination and inspire me to depict, through my artwork, the essence of these locations.”

“Nancy had so much passion,” said Attorney Thomas Roche who worked alongside her for many years. “For her work, for her art, her mother and people in general. She was an invaluable presence here in the Eastern District Courthouse, especially after 9/11.”

Isabel Marcal and Thomas Roche.

Since its dedication in 2010, the Charles P. Sifton Gallery has featured works by artists from the greater New York City area. Applications for shows are evaluated by an informal committee of judges. Shows such as Nancy Fabrizio’s typically run three months.

“Judge Sifton passionately loved the arts,” said Judge Irizarry. “He believed it vital that public spaces display art, particularly art made from the broader community.”

Said Judge Levy: “Justice cannot exist without community. And what better way to welcome members of the community here than with public art?”

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