An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 60 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews
Che is a proud graduate of the School of the Art and has featured many SOTA alums, including Britton Bradford, Kayoz Fortune, Ajani Jeffries, Marguerite Frarey, Willie “El Mongoose” Monroe Jr., Willis Ajamu Brooks , James Kegler, Taye Diggs, Evalyn Gleason and Adrian DiMatteo. Che also highlighted four members of the SOTA theater department: Lorrie Dewey, Michelle Accorso Sapere, Ed Myers and Luke Fellows.
Today, Che highlights SOTA’s Arts Center Director, Adele Fico.
Adele has been a friend of the magazine since 2013 when I was the Democrat and Chronicle’s Make City Schools Better blogger. With Adele’s encouragement and help, we did four posts on SOTA: No highly effective teachers at SOTA?. Something is not right., The Unsung Heroes . . . Behind the Scenes at the School of the Arts., Local photographer helps SOTA students soar and Flower city student musicians set to bloom at Lilac Festival
I remember when I told Adele about the blog, her first question was, “What do you like to write about?” At first, I was puzzled. As a new blogger, I thought my role was to find stories that would be popular. However, as I reflected on Adele’s question, I saw her point. If the writer doesn’t care about the subject, neither will the reader.
In this highlight we turn our attention to Adele Fico, a devoted leader, a talented artist and a prominent figure within the SOTA community.
I asked Adele a series of questions, here is what we discussed;
Tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.
I grew up in Rochester, NY, studied at private Catholic schools and attended the University of Rochester. I was an Art History major and Studio Arts minor at University of Rochester. I left college in my senior year to work and unfortunately never returned due to limited finances. This is something I regret to this day. I had every intention of finishing my degree, but life has a way of stepping in and taking over… you know, as John Steinbeck said, “The best laid plans of mice and men.” I hope to finish my degree when I retire in 2021 and have the time to devote to my studies. I hope to be the oldest coed on campus!
What inspired you to be an artist/entertainer/educators? Early experiences worth sharing?
In fifth grade, I used to stay after school to help clean my teacher’s classroom. Her name was Mrs. Sullivan and she was the most beautiful, talented and sophisticated person whom I ever met. Mrs. Sullivan would play classical music on the phonograph, show me photos of beautiful works of art and instilled in me a passion for culture, art and all things beautiful. To this day, I credit her with beginning my life long love affair with all things artistic. My parents were very dignified. They were the children of immigrants who lived a very modest existence and loved beautiful things. They didn’t have much, but what they did have was lovely. They would go to Flea Markets and auctions to buy old, discarded things for pennies; they would polish and shine them to make them beautiful and useable again. At an early age, I can remember my father setting the table for Sunday dinner with the good china. He would light the candles, and teach us how to behave with dignity and to exhibit good manners in all social situations. I was taught to pursue beauty and elevate myself by reading, writing and life long learning.
Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.
Life is full of conflict, hardship and adversity. That is its nature. Our job is to redirect and overcome. I lost my beloved husband to cancer when I was just 35-years old. I learned to put one foot in front of another and take one step at a time. Over the years that followed, I learned to be my best friend, work as hard as possible, always be kind to others, and to never sweat the small stuff. That was almost 30-years ago and I still live by that philosophy.
I don’t believe I am any different than any other artist, but I do know that my talents are not mine. They are on loan to me from God. I was put on this earth to use my gifts for His Glory. By remembering that, I stay humble and mindful of what is truly important in life. I believe I have the innate ability to look foolish and not care what anyone thinks of me, so I can easily immerse myself in a character without fear of judgement. Once while shooting a sketch-comedy video, I had a water melon stuck on my head and didn’t care that I looked ridiculous. In that regard, I like to think of myself as fearless.
Do you have other interests or hobbies?
I read, I write, I love craft projects, movies, going to the theater and symphony, cooking and entertaining family and friends, water walking and all kinds of music.
At the moment, I am helping RAPA remount Hansel and Great which I directed earlier this year. It is going out on tour. I am also deeply immersed in preparing SOTA to host the 2017 Key Bank Rochester Fringe Festival.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Retired, taking care of rescue animals, and acting, directing, producing, writing and volunteering my time promoting local theaters and arts organizations.
What advice can you give to aspiring artists/entertainers/educators?
Don’t give up. Keep on keeping on. One day a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.
How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?
As a woman approaching her sixty-fifth year, Social Media is an enigma to me… just watch the local news.