Brother Thomas Bezanson
Represented by Pucker Gallery since 1982
BORN: 1929 in Halifax, Nova Scotia
DIED: 2007 in Erie, Pennsylvania
Brother Thomas Bezanson graduated in 1950 from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and in 1968 received a MA in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa. In 1953, he began working as a potter and six years later entered the Benedictine Monastery in Weston, Vermont, where he spent 25 years as a potter. In 1976, Thomas was a visiting lecturer at Alfred University School of Ceramics and in 1983, was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant. During his time in Vermont Thomas traveled to Japan, and met five Living National Treasure potters, appointed by the Japanese Government. These craftsmen deeply influenced Thomas's work, process, and thought. It was a few years after this influential journey that he felt the need for greater artistic freedom, and left in 1984 to become an artist-in-residence in the community of Benedictine Sisters in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he shared his life and art for twenty-two years. Brother Thomas’s elegant forms are completed by a vivid array of glazes, which he created from natural materials. There are numerous exhibitions in galleries and museums and his works are included in over 80 international collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
THE BROTHER THOMAS FUND
The Brother Thomas Fund was established at the Boston Foundation in 2007 to honor the legacy of Brother Thomas, who wanted the sale of his work to support struggling artists. The goal of the biennial Brother Thomas Fellowship program is to support and celebrate a diverse group of Greater Boston artists working at a high level of excellence in a range of disciplines and to enhance their ability to thrive and create new work. Each Brother Thomas Fellow receives an unrestricted award of $15,000. Fellowships given without stipulation as to how the funds are spent, match the needs of artists as well as the wishes of Thomas, who wanted to help other artists as his friends had helped him. Brother Thomas Fellows are selected on alternate years based on an inclusive process of nomination and panel review by a diverse group of nominators from the leaders in Boston’s art scene. The fellowships are awarded to individuals who have made a firm commitment to their art and are working at a high level of achievement. The Fellowship program acknowledges that even established artists often struggle for the resources needed to advance their art. Over time, as former Brother Thomas Fellows welcome the new award winners, the awards create a community of artists of recognized excellence.
To learn more about the fund's development and vision, please read "A Lesson in the Art of Giving" by Jeanne Koles.
For Jonathan Fairbank's essay for the Brother Thomas at Fuller Craft Museum catalogue, please read "A Tribute to Brother Thomas (Thomas Bezanson)".