Remembering Reno “Ray” Pisano

Reno “Ray” Pisano, the last living founder of NESA, passed away on April 21, 2024 at the age of 101.

Ray was born in Lynn, MA and began sculpting at the age of 12. The son of a barber and a bridal gown designer, Pisano grew up in Lynn’s Highlands, graduated from Classical High School, and attended the Boston Museum School for a semester before joining the Army and taking part in several World War II campaigns. He went back to school after the war and went to work for General Electric’s household division, creating stylistic designs for appliances. The father of four was married to his late wife, Mary, for 67 years.

He graduated from, and later taught at, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 1970, Ray was a founding faculty member of the Montserrat College of Art as well as a founding member of the New England Sculptors Association. 

Ray sculpted in plaster, bronze, and wood but is best known for stone carving, particularly in granite. He forged his own tools in order to create an implements capable of crafting clay or plaster into his creations. His sculptures and the material he worked with reflect an inquisitive, impatient spirit that age and time failed to tamp down. He switched from plaster to marble to granite to wood and epoxy, and his creations ranged from a massive likeness of P.T. Barnum to delicately rendered torsos. For Pisano, art was not so much a process of creation as it was an exploration of his abilities.

A long-time Nahant resident, and dedicated son of Lynn, Ray was awarded the Lynn Cultural Council’s Significance award in the Devotion category for his dedication to creating an artistic palette which softens the hard edges of some of the city’s open spaces. His work, “Tectonic Eclipse,” graces the Nahant library’s lawn. Lynn is dotted with his creations, including a Douglass monument on the common and a bronze plaque tribute to Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy. 

At his request, there will be no memorial service.