Originally from Toledo Ohio, Tom Smith has lived in the Milwaukee area since 1981.
His art training consisted of lessons at the Toledo Museum of Art in 3rd through 5th Grades and then in High School. After one class in college in 1977, he essentially stopped painting.
He went on to earn a Master of Music Degree after moving to Wisconsin and became a professional cellist. He plays in the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra and has been Principal Cellist of the Festival City Symphony since 1985. He also taught 1st Grade for 15 years in Wauwatosa.
In 2012, Tom began oil painting again after he left his teaching career. Three years later he began painting “En Plein Air”, which is painting outdoors, “on site”. He has since participated in many plein air events in Wisconsin, won awards, and was instrumental in planning the League of Milwaukee Artists first “West Bend Plein Air and Paint the Market” competition which was held in August of 2018.
He is a member of many art organizations, including: The League of Milwaukee Artists, The Wauwatosa Artists Workshop, Fine Art Montage, The Rogues Artist Group, WIPAPA (Wisconsin Plein Air Painters Association), and The American Impressionist Society
He has exhibited his oil paintings in many local venues and had several solo shows including at the Wauwatosa, WI Public Library, North Shore Presbyterian Church (Shorewood, WI) Bridgetowne Gallery (Wauwatosa, WI), and Art and Soul Gallery (Milwaukee, WI).
Awards have included:
2015 WAW Fall Show Honorable Mention
2017 LMA Winter Show Honorable Mention
2017 WAW Winter Show Award of Merit
2017 Cedarburg Plein Air Competition 2nd Place Award
2017 LMA Fall Show Honorable Mention
2017 Plymouth, WI “Paint the Towns Plein Air” Honorable Mention
2018 Arbor Place (Menomonie, WI) Plein Air Competition 2nd Place Award
2018 Jerry Goldstein Foundation Artist Merit and Achievement Award
2018 New Berlin (WI) Plein Air Honorable Mention
Fusion.art 2nd Season Quarterly Art Exhibition 4th Place Award
Juried Exhibitions and Plein Air Competitions have included:
“GALEX 52 National Exhibition and Competition”, Galesburg. Ill 2018
“The Modern Landscape” at Redline Gallery, Milwaukee, 2018
Taliesin Plein Air 2018 (Invitational)
“Water Works” 24th Annual Juried Exhibition, Plymouth (WI) Arts Center
In my childhood, there were dreams. I would paint. I would make beauty. Always present though: a shadow. Even my name was hateful to me.
Then, childhood passed. There would be no beauty. There would be other things, though. Wonderful things: love, children, a career. Yet hiding in that shadow would be the art, the beauty.
There was a crash. I was unmoving. I was lost in the darkness. Until slowly, emergent, it finally came: the art.
You see, I have suffered from severe anxiety and depression for much of my adult life. The shadow blocking out the beauty. Then the finding: Asperger’s. Mild but present-and that knowing brought light.
One of my favorite quotes is by writer James Agee: “…and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of the night.”
Life was for a time, for me, full of sorrow. A sorrow I wanted to end; tried to end. Painting brought me out of this darkness. When I was in the hospital, the one book I brought along was about oil painting. When I returned home, I began to paint. Therapy, one could say, but also a renewal of my childhood dreams.
I began to realize that I love “being on this earth” and knowing that I am a part of its wonder. Yet I also know, like James Agee, that time is fleeting, and so I try to capture the beauty of this world in paint.
I hadn’t painted much since I was young, but now I began to see it as a way to a new life. I wanted to be an artist, and so I painted, painted landscapes, painted our Earth.
I found other artists, I joined art groups. I painted.
Being a painter has brought me into the light in so many ways. Sometimes being in it can be hard for me. I still struggle, I don’t know how or what to say. But painting has saved my life. I can look and say here, that’s me. My name is Tom Smith, and I am an artist.
Growing up, Christmas Eve was a night I couldn’t wait for. Not only because I knew Santa would be coming, but because it was always a night I got to see all of my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. We would drive to my grandparents and the kids would march upstairs to play together with the old toys that were still there from the generation prior to us. We’d rehearse and put on a concert for our parents (complete with ripped up paper snow) and we knew if we listened closely, we would hear Santa’s sleigh. We always knew we were too loud and rowdy when one of our parents yelled up the stairs because the dining room chandelier was shaking (which happened to be right under the room we were in and right above the table where they were playing sheepshead). Opening presents was always exciting, but not nearly as exciting as the quality time spent with family. It was a night filled with love.
After my grandparents all passed, the family rotated who hosted Christmas Eve for a couple of years and some family members stopped coming. Eventually, my husband and I decided we wanted to pick up the tradition. This year will be our 6th year hosting Christmas Eve and it’s now become one of the days of the year my daughter counts down until. The night is filled with family, friends, singing, laughing and, most importantly, love.
When John Cramer approached me about co-directing and shared the concept for the show, I knew I had to hop on board. I think just about every cast member has commented at some point how much the love the holiday season. It’s been fun hearing the stories from the cast on their favorite holiday memories. Thank you to our cast, crew and production staff for making this story come to life. Every time I work on a show, I’m reminded why community theatre is so amazing.
As you sit back and enjoy the show, you might find a scene reminds you of something, a character may remind you of someone, you might hear your favorite holiday tune, but what I hope the most is that you feel is just how much dedication and love went into this production. Happy Holidays and thank you for coming to the show! Enjoy!
After a run of 694 performances on Broadway during the 1955-1956 season, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof made it to the big screen in 1958, just in time for Elizabeth Taylor to get her second Best Actress Oscar nomination in two years. The film was highly acclaimed by critics and audiences alike and it received five additional Oscar nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor (Paul Newman); Best Director (Richard Brooks); Best Writing; Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Richard Brooks and James Poe); and Best Cinematography – Color (William Daniels).
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is truly an actor’s movie, and it is one of those rare films where every single actor is perfect.
Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor are both brilliant as Brick and Maggie. Not very often is there a screen couple that have the same chemistry together that they do. And those eyes! It is hard to say which of them had the most captivating eyes. Taylor and Newman were more than extraordinarily beautiful. She was an amazing actress, and he is arguably one of the greatest actors of all time. The relationship between Brick and Maggie is fascinating; full of confusion, betrayal, honesty, dishonesty, love, desire, and trust.
As Big Daddy, Burl Ives gives one of the best performances of his exceptional career. Jack Carson, Madeleine Sherwood, and Judith Anderson round out the cast as Gooper, Mae (Sister Woman), and Big Momma, and all deliver performances that are astoundingly memorable.
Tennessee Williams was reportedly unhappy with the screenplay, which removed almost all of the homosexual themes and diminished the original play’s critique of homophobia and sexism. But it is important to remember that the play and the film are two separate entities. The film is an adaptation, and they are not meant to be the same. They should be judged each on their own merit!
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is one of the great pieces of 20th century American literature and cinema. It has some universal lessons we could all profit by in viewing it.
Managing Artistic Director
On the surface, I am an unconventional choice as a director for Sex Please We’re Sixty. What does a man in his thirties know about the romantic lives of menopausal women and a sixty-something Casanova? Turns out, not a whole lot.
But as I got to know Bud, Mrs. Stancliffe, and the visitors of the Rose Cottage Bed and Breakfast, I discovered a more universal story, one that speaks to people of all ages; especially those of my generation.
In today’s world, more than ever before, we find ourselves looking for a sense of purpose. We get caught up in the business of our jobs, our kids, countless activities, the news of the world. We tell friends and family that we’ll visit, “when things settle down” or “when we have time.” We send emails or texts instead of making phone calls. Entire stories are told in 140 characters, a small series of pictures, or a six-second video. The digital age has made us more connected, but many people feel more isolated.
This show is a reminder that at all ages, we seek love, companionship, and a purpose in life. Sometimes we pretend to be something we aren’t in order to get what we think we want. Sometimes we get stuck in a routine and need an objective person to give us a push in a new direction. Sometimes the things we want require the most effort and time (even 20 years). Sometimes we need someone to see us for who we truly are, flaws and all. At the end of the day, we’re all just human beings wanting to be loved and accepted.
Thank you to the cast and crew for all their hard work on this show, to John Cramer for this opportunity to direct my first show at WCT, and to family and friends for their support.