by Anthony Glassman
The Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend board announced on June 21 that April’s 11th annual CLAW festivities raised over $55,000 to be donated to 17 nonprofit organizations.
According to treasurer Donn Wolfe, half of that money will go to the eight northeast Ohio organizations on the list, the other half will go to groups further afield, ranging from local to international organizations. The donation to the CLAW Endowment, which ensures that charitable giving would continue should CLAW cease to be held, is not counted in that total.
Wolfe noted that “$55,000 is $20,000 more than we gave last year, and it’s the most we’ve ever given.” It is the first year that the Tom of Finland Foundation has received a CLAW donation. In total, CLAW and its related CLAW Nation events have donated $391,697 as of June 22.
Next year’s CLAW 12 will again be hosted by the Hilton Garden Inn from April 25 to 28.
TOM OF FINLAND (Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled (Sketch), c. 1962, Graphite on paper, 8.25” x 5.81”, Tom of Finland Foundation Permanent Collection #0083, © 1962 Tom of Finland Foundation
KIITOS PALJON to everyone who helped to make Tom of Finland his very own spot in the Helsinki Pride parade!
TOM deserves to be honored and celebrated EVERY year in ALL Pride marches, but especially in his homeland. The diversity of the TOM group showed how many Finns he has affected, and also the progress that has been made since his passing in ‘91. His legacy is something ALL Finns should take pride in. There can´t be too many people, too many signs, or too much history being shared about him. Every year TOM will have a BIGGER and BETTER presence as it should be!
2012 Helsinki Pride parade assembling at Senate Square.
Gary and ToFF Volunteer Josh Carrillo deacidifying Tom’s childhood drawings at TOM House.
We are very pleased to announce that we have received a grant to help cover the cost of supplies and materials from the Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend (CLAW). Our heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone on the grants committee for recognizing Tom’s legacy and for acknowledging Tom of Finland Foudation’s dedication to protecting, preserving and promoting erotic art around the world. We also want to extend our warmest regards to Gary Fledgemaker for his meticulous attention to detail when approaching this laborious and time consuming task.
The funds requested will be used primarily for the C L A W / Tom of Finland Restoration and Preservation Project, a time sensitive endeavor through which professional conservator Gerald H. Fledgemaker will begin the meticulous and time consuming process of bleaching, deacidifying and or transferring Tom’s private collection of fascinating reference materials from corrosive and corroding standard bond typing paper to acid-free archival paper, protected in costly polyester sleeves. For many years, visitors to the Foundation’s archive and offices at TOM House, were treated to a rare glimpse at the many binders containing images clipped from drawings, personal photos, newspapers, magazines, advertisements and vintage pornography by Touko Laaksonen (Tom of Finland), who arranged and sometimes augmented these photos to be used as the artistic inspirations for some of the most widely recognized erotic artwork ever made.
Recently, college interns from California Institute for the Arts proposed that these works were more than simple reference materials, and are, in fact actual hand-made erotic collages worthy of exhibition in their own right. Together with the Foundation, renowned fetish photographer and gallerist Rick Castro launched the first exhibition, Public & Private, of these materials, to wide acclaim. Not only will preserving these works help us continue our efforts to preserve Tom’s legacy, they afford us the opportunity to show future generations how the most influential erotic artist of our time created the works that changed the way Gay men thought of themselves and the way the world at large perceived of Gay men.