The assembled 2017 Brother Thomas Fellows
I’m pleased to announce that I’m one of 14 2017 Brother Thomas Fellows!
(I’ll let the Fund explain what it is:)
“The Brother Thomas Fund was established at the Boston Foundation in 2007 to honor the legacy of Brother Thomas Bezanson, a Benedictine monk and world-renowned ceramic artist, who wanted the sale of his work to help other artists, as his friends had helped him.
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—the visual, performing, literary, media and craft arts—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.
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 the donor.”
The awards are given out every other year, and usually to 4-6 artists. This year was an especially large cohort. I feel quite humbled to be in the company of such a talented and diverse group of artists. They are poets and musicians and photographers and ceramics artists and choreographers, and all sorts of other things. I’m the only playwright (the award is infrequently given to playwrights—I’m only the third since the awards began).
The awards ceremony was in the Pucker Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston—it was a thrill to share the space not only with these energetic fellow artists, but also to be in the company of so many works created by Brother Thomas himself. Their beauty and artistry makes it clear why he was able to fund this powerful artistic and social legacy. I’m eager to go back and spend more time with his creations. (Mr. Pucker spoke to the assembled crowd, and told us that Brother Thomas used to make 1,200 pots a year. And he’d smash 1,100 of them. Only a fraction were good enough to survive.)
I am so grateful to have received this award and will do my best to reward the confidence shown in me by the judges and the Boston Foundation. Though the grant is unrestricted, we are asked for our intentions. I’m hoping to use the funds to travel to productions of my plays outside New England and build connections there (ones that I hope will benefit playwrights around my region), and also to create a small theatre company that is dedicated to working with museums and historic sites to create new site-specific plays. I’ll report back as my plans start to come together.