2016 CWA Lifetime Achievement Award Presentation
Fleur Bresler was honored as CWA's 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient on November 4, 2016, at CWA's SOFA dinner in Chicago. Outgoing President Judy Chernoff delivered the following remarks during the presentation.
Since 1998, CWA has presented annual Lifetime Achievement Awards to individuals who have made meaningful contributions to the field of wood art. I am very proud to be able to present the 2016 award to Fleur Bresler.
The CWA Board of Directors chose Fleur for her significant role as a pioneering collector and for her long term support and promotion of the field.
So how has she done this?
She bought her first piece of wood in 1986 and since that time has amassed a collection of ~900 works in wood and ~1500 works in craft overall.
She has provided significant financial support to many institutions, most importantly the Renwick Gallery, The Center for Art in Wood, and Penland School of Crafts.
She has volunteered her time with many craft organizations, including The Center for Art in Wood - where she served as president for five years, the James Renwick Alliance, the Fuller Craft Museum, the American Craft Council, and the Renwick Gallery and Smithsonian American History museums - where she served as a docent.
She has supported numerous wood artists not only with multiple purchases of their work but with financial assistance in lean times.
She has focused on education and documentation. When she buys a work, she gets to know the artist who made it, why they made it, and how they made it. And then she opens her home and gives historically detailed tours where she shares stories about her pieces. She has done this over the years with visitors too numerous to count.
She has encouraged and supported younger artists in their quest to explore their creativity through programs such as the International Turning Exchange at the Center for Art in Wood and the Emerging Artist Program for the ACC.
She and her late husband Charlie put on a terrific exhibition in 2010 at the Renwick Gallery. “A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection" was extremely important to the field and became the basis for a substantial portion of the museum's wood art collection.
Fleur's influence in the field of collecting, in particular the wood art field, cannot be underestimated. She is a stellar example of a true patron of the arts.
And something you may not know is that Fleur volunteers on a regular basis in the kitchen at Food and Friends, a non-profit organization that delivers nutritious meals and groceries along with nutrition counseling to those facing HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses. So her giving extends out beyond the art world.
Koji Tanaka was chosen to create this year's award plaque. I would like to share with you his thoughtful and meaningful explanation of the piece he would make to honor Fleur.
“After extensive brainstorming and thought, I've finally come up with a design for the award that I think will reflect Fleur and her presence in the wood art world. The sculpture on top is olive and will look similar to the Moebius strip sculpture I've made in the past. My idea is that the sculpture represents/symbolizes her as a person and collector. Since the Moebius strip is an infinite and continual loop, I want to convey her endless and continuous contributions to wood art and beyond. Furthermore, I believe it symbolizes her eternal mark on wood art that will be felt forever. As for the base made of curly maple, it represents water and the ripples on water caused by the sculpture sitting on top. This is to show how Fleur has been such a big influence on the field. Her dedication, commitment, and contributions have reverberated and been felt all around her and will continue to do so."
Congratulations and thank you from all of us at CWA!
Plaque reads: Collectors of Wood Art Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Fleur Bresler in recognition of your dedication, commitment, and contribution to the field of wood art. November 4, 2016.