Brad Thomas

Brad Thomas
Artist and Curator

Education:  Bachelor of Fine Arts, UNC Charlotte (1992)
Master of Fine Arts, Minneapolis College of Art + Design (2020)

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 shaped artistic programming and led initiatives that endeavored to connect Charlotte to a global art scene. In addition, Brad is an active visual artist since he graduated from UNC Charlotte. His commissioned works have been featured at the North Carolina Museum of Art and The Halsey Institute for Contemporary Art. In addition, his works are held in numerous private and public collections including The Mint Museum, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He credits his time at UNC Charlotte with giving him the skills and 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. Although she was tough, she was an empowering and fair teacher. Regardless of the role––artist, curator, teacher––I was always going to be close to art."

After 16 years as an arts administrator, Brad once again returned to the studio to be a full-time artist in 2015. “While I had the privilege of collaborating with so many remarkable creatives––including artists that I admired during my undergraduate studies––I realized it came at the expense of saying “no” to my own practice.” Over the past several years, he has exhibited his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He is represented by SOCO Gallery in Charlotte.

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. A current interview with the artist may be found here in Canvas Rebel Magazine