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Ben Bivins & Elece Harrison Fund for Art (F08458)

Published June 27, 2023

Ben Bivins and Elece Harrison were fixtures at arts events around Tallahassee, especially at Florida State University where they never missed an exhibit at the FSU Museum of Fine Arts.

Born and raised in Macon, GA, Benjamin Bivins (1939-2021) attended Davidson College and Emory University School of Medicine before enlisting in the Air Force for three years, including one in Vietnam. Following his residency at the University of Michigan, in 1972 he moved his young family to Tallahassee to open his dermatology practice. After retirement in 2000, he continued helping patients as a regular volunteer at the Neighborhood Medical Center.

A longtime supporter of and participant in the local arts community, in retirement his passion for creating art deepened and he returned to school to earn an MFA in painting at FSU in 2004. Bivins delighted in exploring the possibilities in art, and it was rare to find him without a small pad and pen for quick sketches and notes.

Dr. Bivins went on to a second career as a working artist, with solo shows at Gadsden Art Center, Tallahassee Regional Airport, FSU’s Art on Campus, 621 Gallery and more. Ben taught rendering, opened his studio to students in the Fine Arts Lectures and Studio Tours class (taught by Professor Emeritus of Art, George Blakely), and funded visiting alumni artists as well as awards for art students to participate in internships and residencies. Ben became a founding member of the FSU College of Fine Arts Dean’s Advisory Board in 2007 and a founding member of FSU Allies4Art.

As Ben joined the board, the gifts silently appeared – a consoling word for a student facing a class crisis, a student or group of students needing a few dollars to attend a seminar, a student facing expenses for a final project – never a trumpet, never a request for an accolade, simply a compassionate individual doing for others to make their life a little easier and better.

– Emory Johnson, Emeritus Member
College of Fine Arts Advisory Council

Bivins and wife Elece Harrison thoughtfully made provisions – through Charitable Gift Annuities and their estate plans – to support the arts at FSU through an endowed fund.

Elece remains an active member of the FSU College of Fine Arts community. While Ben will be missed terribly by family and friends alike, his passion for the arts will live on through this endowed fund for decades to come.

Make a Donation

To make a gift online to this fund, please click the Give button, choose “Search College of Fine Arts Funds” and type in the fund name. Please mail checks, made payable to “FSU Foundation” with the fund number (F08458) noted to:

FSU Foundation
325 W. College Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32301

To discuss a gift to the College of Fine Arts at Florida State University, please contact:

Jessica Comas
Director of Development
FSU College of Fine Arts
(850) 645-0701