Susan Woods Paine has been instrumental in promoting arts, culture, and education in Boston. Her roles in various institutions have included President, and then Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Trustee of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Trustee Emerita of the Boston Athenaeum; past Director of the Office for the Arts at Harvard; and former Advisory Council member of the Boston Foundation for Architecture.
In partnership, she and her husband collected work of both emerging and established artists such as Alexander Calder, Christo, Chuck Close, Audrey Flack, Jane Freilicher, Helen Frankenthaler, Arshile Gorky, Jasper Johns, Wassily Kandinsky, Willem de Kooning, Fernand Leger, Agnes Martin, Michael Mazur, Giorgio Morandi, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, David Smith, Wayne Thiebaud, Peter Voulkos, and Terry Winters.
The Stephen D. Paine Scholarship was established in 1999 by the Boston Art Dealers Association and supports students entering their final year in studio art programs at colleges in the city of Boston. Susan was the recipient of the Medal Award from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2011.
She was elected to the American Academy in 2014 and is a member of the Academy Trust.