On 14th December 1984, the nonprofit Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF) was established by Durk Dehner and Tom of Finland (born Touko Laaksonen, 1920-1991). The Foundation’s original purpose was to preserve Tom of Finland’s vast catalog of work. Several years later the scope was widened to offer a safe haven for all erotic art.
The Foundation is located in a residence built in 1911, in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, and was purchased by Durk Dehner in 1979. Beginning in 1980, through to his death in 1991, Tom called this residence his California home, with his studio on the 3rd floor. Eventually, the house became known as “TOM House”. Now, Durk and his colleague, Sharp; along with Marc, the curator; plus two artists-in-residence live at TOM House. In 2016, TOM House was declared a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. ToFF provides support for the upkeep of TOM House and Durk has willed his home to the Foundation.
Today ToFF continues in its efforts of educating the public as to the cultural merits of erotic art and in promoting healthier, more tolerant attitudes about sexuality. ToFF achieves this by:
- Museum, Archive and Library – 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. ToFF also has a library and archive at TOM House, containing over 500,000 books, periodicals, film and other forms of erotic images. The Foundation is one of the largest repositories of erotic art and frequented by academic researchers.
- Artist-in-Residence Program – The Foundation hosts erotic artists from around the world who live at TOM House for up to 3 months, providing them support and access to extensive source material for artistic inspiration.
- Exhibitions – The artist-in-residence program culminates with an exhibition of the artist’s work created while staying at TOM House. In addition, ToFF hosts, curates and supports exhibitions throughout the world of both Tom’s work and that of other erotic artists.
- Community Events – The Foundation sponsors numerous events throughout the year at TOM House and off-site, including monthly life drawing sessions, the annual TOM’s Bar, and the yearly Tom of Finland Art and Culture Festival. These events educate the public as to the importance of erotic art in our culture; the Foundation’s mission.
- Merchandise – The Foundation licenses Tom’s images and name to various enterprises, including book publishers. Licensed products help promote Tom’s art work and keeps his legacy alive. Income from sales provides just a small portion of the total funds needed to support TOM’s Foundation.
- Safe Gathering Space – TOM House and the Foundation have created an inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters, providing a warm, safe, fun space for people from all walks of life, sexual orientation and expression who enjoy erotic art.
Tom of Finland Foundation
Needs YOUR Help!
We can not do this important work without your support. The Foundation relies on financial support, and the time and effort of volunteers from the community. We want you to be part of our family. We offer our Membership program and pursue fundraising, major donor, sponsorship and bequeath outreach.