Boston – The Boston Foundation and Pucker Gallery today announced that sixteen Boston-area artists have been named the 2021 class of Brother Thomas Fellows, bringing the total number of recipients to 72 and the total funds distributed to $1,080,000 since the program’s inception in 2009. Artists in this milestone class, the largest in the history of the Fellowship program, will each receive a $15,000 unrestricted grant from the Brother Thomas Fund at the Boston Foundation. Fellowships— given without stipulation as to how the funds are spent—match the needs of artists as well as the wishes of the donor who wanted to help other artists as his friends had helped him.
The Brother Thomas Fund was established at the Boston Foundation to honor the legacy of Brother Thomas Bezanson, a Benedictine monk and world-renowned ceramic artist, who wanted the sale of his work to support artists at critical junctures in their careers. The sixteen artists, each of whom has established their place in the artistic spectrum, were nominated by a committee of artistic leaders, including past Fellows.
“Every two years, the Boston Foundation has the opportunity to recognize the creative works of a diverse range of artists with the Brother Thomas Fellowships. This group is no exception – a talented cohort of artists whose interests range from the written, spoken, and musical to mixed media and ceramics,” said Lee Pelton, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “But while their chosen media varies widely, they share a passion for their work and a track record of creative success worthy of the Brother Thomas Fellowship.”
The 2021 Fellows are notable for their talent and diversity – 15 of the 16 Fellows identify as people of color. They comprise a mix of literary, performance, and craft artistic media, and range widely in age and career arc.
“This class of Fellows is special to me, not just as brilliant artists in their own right, but because of what they represent in the course of this remarkable fellowship,” said Bernie Pucker, owner of Pucker Gallery and a longtime friend of Brother Thomas Bezanson. “The Brother Thomas Fund has been able to provide critical funding to give mid-career artists a leg up. To support, as Thomas said, ‘what is Good, True and Beautiful, those things that unite and do not divide.’ It is an ongoing legacy befitting a most generous soul.”
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. The Boston Foundation also hopes that fellowship winners will have greater access to a variety of markets, including galleries, residencies and commissions, and that the importance of artists to the vitality of Boston will be more broadly recognized.
Biographies of the 2021 Brother Thomas Fellows are available on the Brother Thomas Fellows page of TBF.org, along with a complete list of Brother Thomas Fellows since 2009. To learn more about Brother Thomas and view catalogues of his work at Pucker Gallery, visit https://www.puckergallery.com/artists#/brother-thomas-bezanson/.