Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, UNC Charlotte (1992)
Hometown: Mount Airy, NC
Brad Thomas has led a distinguished career in the Charlotte area arts community, serving as Director and Curator of the Van Every/Smith Galleries at Davidson College, Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art for The Mint Museum, and most recently as Director of Residencies + Exhibitions at McColl Center for Art + Innovation. In all three positions, he has shaped artistic programming and led initiatives that connect Charlotte to a global art scene. In addition, Brad is an active visual artist: his commissioned works have been featured at the North Carolina Museum of Art, The Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art, and The Craft Museum of Finland, and his works are held in numerous private and public collections including The Mint Museum, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He credits his time at UNC Charlotte with giving him the vision he needed for his multifaceted career.
"UNC Charlotte is where I first learned that art is about infinite possibilities.Through art we are able to meaningfully connect with the past, develop dialogues about the present, and imagine the future. During my very first art class with Rita Shumaker, I finally realized what I wanted to do with my life. She was a tough, but empowering and fair teacher. Regardless of the role––artist, curator, teacher––I was always going to be close to art."
While he is pleased with his many accomplishments as a practicing artist, Brad finds the greatest satistfaction from his work nurturing others.
"The friendships are the most important. Helping dedicated artists find the 'yes' in their practice and sharing with others the knowledge that a life in art is possible."
Brad was named the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus in the Department of Art & Art History, the first alum to receive the honor. In the spring of 2015, Brad left the McColl Center and Charlotte for a new career in Minneapolis. Read about his departure and distinguished Charlotte career in The Charlotte Observer.