2020: Tom’s Foundation – Finding One Hundred Ways

31st December 2020, 5:15 pm

We owe you the sweetest of debts

TOM OF FINLAND Untitled (detail from Pleasure Park), 1977, Pen and ink on paper, ©1977-2020 Tom of Finland Foundation [Back cover of Tom of Finland: The Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero]

Dear Friends,

As 2020 ends, we at Tom of Finland Foundation (the Foundation) are grateful for the ways we connected with members and fans. Despite the odds, we celebrated Tom’s 100th birthday (
#TOMs100) on a global scale with exhibitions and online events. As we sheltered in place, we continued to create public programming to protect, preserve, and promote erotic art.
Though the doors of TOM House in Los Angeles were closed to the public for most of the year, we did not stop. We are thrilled at what we accomplished: 
  • Publications: We released Tom of Finland: The Official Life and Work of a Gay Hero – a special Tom’s 100 Anniversary edition hardcover book with over 300 photographs and illustrations. It was published by Cernunnos, with text by F. Valentine Hooven III and a foreword by Jean-Paul Gaultier.
  • Exhibitions: Celebrating Tom’s Centennial birth year, we were able to coordinate Tom of Finland exhibitions in Tallinn, Stockholm, London, Berlin, Los Angeles, as well as Tokyo and Osaka, in addition to online #TOMs100 presentations, collaborations and screenings.
  • Archival Development: Thanks to your generous donations, we acquired a new collection management system to document, record and catalogue objects in our care. The Foundation holds a permanent collection of more than 1,000 original works by Tom and another 1,500 works by hundreds of other erotic artists.
  • Awards: We closed out #TOMs100 by recognizing outstanding artists and individuals with the annual Tom of Finland Awards and Emerging Artist Competition.
We have faced so much in terms of great social change amidst social isolation this year. But as a community, we have been here before. We have experienced the devastation of HIV/AIDS and fought the rampant censorship of how we create and express ourselves before. Our resistance and resilience have been our strengths. It was therefore so important to us to get online and stay in connection with you.
We plugged in with you online in the following ways: 
  • Monthly Life Drawing Sessions: Life drawing sessions transitioned online and continued to be well attended.
  • Emerging Artist Competition: The Tom of Finland Emerging Artist Competition had close to 600 international artwork submissions.
  • The World of TOM: In September, we launched the World of TOM: a Patreon for fans. It gave worldwide members and friends access to our virtual TOM House tours and our online erotic art collection. Even and perhaps especially in isolation, art plays a crucial role in a changing world, allowing us to continue communicating and sharing with one another. You can sign up at 4 different levels to access House Tours, Archival and Behind the Scenes Content.
  • The Tom of Finland 25th Art & Culture Festival: Plugged In: The Art & Culture Festival is one of the key public events the Foundation does each year and 2020 is also the 36th anniversary of the Foundation. On December 11, 12, and 13, 2020, we hosted the Festival on a custom website. We were especially proud to host a special event for members and guests on Friday evening of the Festival. Even though the Festival weekend is over, the website remains up and you can still visit it to purchase art. Artwork from 70 erotic artists is showcased and links are provided to purchase artwork directly from the artists. You can also find out more about ToFF winners, past and present, as well as Tom’s centennial biography.
There’s still time left this year to support the Foundation, and a variety of ways to make a tax-deductible donation towards the Foundation’s work:
  • Becoming a Member: Since our inception in 1984, we have been sustained by our members. If you are not already, become a member of the Foundation. More information on membership levels here.
  • The Foundation Endowment: Want to invest in a future filled with erotic art? We are currently building an endowment to sustain the Foundation for years to come. To find out more, please contact Lillian Gael at development@tomoffinland.org.
  • Collection of Your Own: Questions about how to purchase artwork by artists known to the Foundation? Review the sampling here.
  • Estate Planning: Remembering the Foundation when preparing your estate planning. To discuss leaving art, bequests, or stock to the Foundation, please contact Lillian Gael at development@tomoffinland.org.
As a 501(c)(3) non profit public charity creating programming for the public, it was rewarding to serve you this year and we remain strong in our commitments. Here’s to 2021!


With much gratitude and solidarity,

Durk Dehner

President & Cofounder


Tom of Finland Centennial 1920–2020

  Tom of Finland (born Touko Laaksonen 8th May 1920, and died 7th November 1991) has long been recognized as one of the 20th century’s great visual innovators. As he confronted the stigmas and stereotypes that long burdened homosexual desire, his depictions of empowered gay men fully enjoying their sexuality proved liberating on social and… View Article

#TOMs100 in 📷


Published: 31st December 2020

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