In a ceremony at The Boston Foundation this past Tuesday night, eight artists (including six past fellows/finalists from the Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowships Program) were announced as the inaugural Brother Thomas Fellows, receiving unrestricted awards of $15,000.
The awards are part of the legacy of Brother Thomas Bezanson, a Benedictine monk whose porcelain ceramics are world-renowned for their mastery and grace. The Boston Foundation worked with Bernie and Sue Pucker from the Pucker Gallery (longtime friends of Brother Thomas) to establish the Brother Thomas Fund, creating a means to support working contemporary artists through the sale of Brother Thomas’s work.
Artists are nominated for consideration for the award, which is planned for every two years. Sixty-two artists were nominated for the 2009 Brother Thomas Fellowships, representing a wide range of exceptional artists in many disciplines. The eight fellows are:
- John Oluwole ADEkoje, a filmmaker and playwright who teaches at the Boston Arts Academy
- Kati Agocs, a composer and member of the composition faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston
- Richard Hoffman (Fiction/Creative Nonfiction ’02), a poet, prose writer, and writer in residence at Emerson College
- Barbara Helfgott Hyett (Poetry Fellow ’98), a poet and founder of the Workshop for Publishing Poets
- Brian Knep (Sculpture/Installation Finalist ’07), a new media artist who was the first artist-in-residence at Harvard Medical School
- Alla Kovgan (Film & Video Fellow ’09), a filmmaker and co-founder of Kinodance Company and the Balagan Experimental Film Series
- Tracy Heather Strain (Film & Video Fellow ’07), a filmmaker whose work-in-progress is a documentary on Lorraine Hansberry, author of Raisin in the Sun
- Heather White (Crafts Finalist ’09), a jeweler, maker of wearable art, and Associate professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Congratulations to all nominees and fellows!
The panelists were: Nicholas Baume, former Chief Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston; Emilya Cachapero, Director of Artistic Programs for the Theatre Communications Group; Michael Cain, a composer and pianist; Kwame Dawes, poet in residence at the University of South Carolina Arts Institute; Caridad Svich, playwright, translator and editor; Judith Tannenbaum, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum; and Joe Zina, former Executive Director of the Coolidge Corner Theatre.
Images: Brian Knep, FROG TIME (2007), non-repeating video installation, computer, video projector, custom software, 7×5 ft; Still from NORA, co-directed by Alla Kovgan and David Hinton; Heather White, MURMURING BROOCH (2006), cast sterling lips, gold, rubies, seed and cultured pearls, 4.75×4.75x.75 in.