In Memoriam Creator of ‘Under the Picasso’ Rose Farina remembered

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Rose Farina

Rose Farina, longtime director of Programs and Exhibits at the Richard J. Daley Center in Downtown Chicago, who created the weekday “Under the Picasso” free noontime entertainment programs, passed away Saturday, November 2, 2019 at the age of 88.

ROSE FARINA (left), the longtime Director of Programs and Exhibits at the Daley Center Plaza for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs is pictured with the late actor and dancer Gregory Hines (right), who performed for an “Under the Picasso” event.

Mrs. Farina began the wonderful noontime programs in the then, Civic Center Plaza at the request of Mayor Richard J. Daley, after her work as the Ethnic Coordinator for the Chicago Bicentennial Committee in 1975-76. She would serve under six different mayors over the 28 years with the city departments of Fine Arts and then Cultural Affairs.

She received countless accolades from throughout the ethnic, arts and entertainment community of Chicago and Illinois and was an early promoter of Black History Month, Military Veterans Recognition including those of Vietnam Veterans, and countless programs promoting the rich cultural mosaic of Chicago.

She was recognized in 1993 as one of Chicago’s 100 Prominent Women, as part of the “Circle of Honor” Art exhibit that saluted the contributions of 100 activists, artists and businesswomen.

Mrs. Farina was recognized for her work from a number of public, private and civic entities including a Superior Public Service Certificate, the Chicago City Council and Mayor Richard M. Daley, Joint Civic Committee of Italian-Americans, United States Department of Defense Award of Appreciation, a piano donated to the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs in her name by the Beautiful Sound Inc., the Sicilian Cultural Association as their first Medal of Merit Recipient and over 40 foreign governments.

One of her proudest achievements took place in 1993 by inviting the Italian Town of Marostica to bring their Medieval Human Chess Game to Chicago and stage a performance in full costume at the Daley Center Plaza which was laid out in a huge chess board.

She was the mother of four sons, seven grandchildren, four great grandchildren and the devoted wife of 60 years of former Chicago Alderman, World War II Army Veteran and Civic Leader, Louis Farina.

The daughter of Italian immigrants from the small mountain town of Ciminna, Sicily, she was the fourth of five children of James Torina, a plasterer and U.S. Army Veteran of World War I, and Francesca Graziano, a seamstress who worked in a parachute manufacturing factory during World War II.

She attended Waller (now Lincoln Park) High School and was a longtime resident of the Northwest side Galewood Neighborhood of Chicago. She is survived by three of her four sons, Philip, James & Mark. Her son, Richard passed away in 2016.

Visitation will be Thursday, November 21 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Salerno Galewood Chapel, 1857 N. Harlem Avenue in Chicago. Funeral Services on Friday morning November 22. Starting from The Funeral Chapel at 9:00 a.m. with services at 10:00 a.m. at St. Giles Catholic Church, 1045 N. Columbian Avenue in Oak Park, with a private burial.

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