The Society of Arts & Crafts recently named Tom Shields of Asheville, N.C., as its 2018 John D. Mineck Fellow. In his application, Shields demonstrated how the fellowship would enable him to construct a safe and efficient studio space, giving him the opportunity to pass on his skills and knowledge to apprentices, and to create and install more public artwork.
The fellowship is a $25,000 award designed to help a skilled and dedicated artist succeed in their career journey. It is sponsored by the John D. Mineck Foundation, past president of the SAC’s board of trustees.
Shields says he is grateful for being selected and has big plans in store.
“Between 2014 and 2016 I had to move my studio three times as I fled higher and higher rents. For years I have been working toward and planning the construction of my own studio building. Thanks to the Mineck Fellowship, I will finally be constructing a studio that will be a safe and secure space for me to continue my career. I will be breaking ground in the coming weeks,” says Shields.
Shields will also pursue significant changes in his career path, shifting his focus from gallery work to public art, while giving back to his community.
“I have always made mentoring younger artists a part of my artistic practice. With the fellowship, I will now be able to hire a paid intern and solidify what have often previously been informal relationships. In the coming weeks I will be hiring two young furniture makers and teaching them about the rougher, yet equally practical, end of woodworking as we frame the studio. I will keep one of them on after the studio is finished to assist me in the shop.”
For more, visit www.societyofcrafts.org.
This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue.