Thomas Moser, Founder of Maine’s Thos Moser, Cabinetmakers will deliver the Commencement address at Maine College of Art & Design’s 104th Commencement, which begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 9 at the State Theatre at 609 Congress Street.Formerly a Bates College professor, Tom Moser left teaching in 1972 to restore the lost art of fine woodworking by making one-of-a-kind furniture in an old Grange Hall in New Gloucester, Maine. Throughout his life he had always been making things out of wood and after 15 years decided to leave academia to devote himself to his true passion, woodworking. Moser notes, “If you enjoy what you do, you never work a day in your life.” During the last forty years, the company has grown from a one-man operation to nearly 70 cabinetmakers (about half men and half women), with clients and collectors around the world.
“For Maine College of Art & Design students to hear from one of Maine’s best creative entrepreneurs as they graduate and embark on a career as an artist is a great opportunity,” said President Donald Tuski. “Tom’s career demonstrates how art, craft, design and entrepreneurship can come together.”Thomas Moser: Legacy in Wood opens in MECA&D’s ICA on July 22 and runs through September 21. The exhibit surveys Thos Moser, Cabinetmakers 44 years of engagement with wood. The work included in the exhibition spans four decades; in many instances walking the viewer through the growth of a chair from early design iterations through several design changes or variations on a central theme, always returning to what Moser via Plato calls "ultimate chairness." This Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design retrospective is the first exhibition to examine the central importance of Thomas Moser to the world of fine furniture craftsmanship.The college will also confer honorary degrees on Ashley Bryan and June Fitzpatrick .Writer, poet and illustrator of children’s books, Ashley Bryan doesn’t speak his stories, he sings them, fingers snapping, feet tapping, his voice articulating. Born in 1923, Ashley entered the tuition-free Cooper Union School of Art and Engineering, having been denied entry elsewhere because of his race. Following service in World War Two and a career of teaching art at several schools and universities, Bryan retired in the 1980s to Maine’s Cranberry Isles as professor emeritus of Dartmouth College. He continues to paint, write, and illustrate at 92.
June Fitzpatrick owns the independent June Fitzpatrick Gallery housed within Maine College of Art & Design, which holds a central position in the heart of Portland’s Arts District and is a destination point for local, regional and international collectors. June supports MECA&D students and alumni with annual exhibitions, including Ten Years After, which showcases MECA&D painting majors one decade after their graduation, the annual BFA Thesis Exhibition, and MECA&D’s annual staff show.
Donald Tuski, Ph.D, president of MECA&D, will confer the honorary degrees. “It is a profound honor to recognize the accomplishments of these distinguished individuals and welcome them to our alumni ranks,” said Tuski.