Thomas Sayre

Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts

Mr. Thomas Sayre is a noted and active sculptor, Thomas Sayre has designed and built public art projects all over the world, and has been a member of design teams for civic, educational, museum and transportation projects.

His 2007 project “Furrow” won the American for the Arts award from the Public Art Network. That project in Charlotte contains six “earthcastings” at the light-rail line’s Scaleybark Station. The sculptures were inspired by harrow disks, the agricultural tools used behind a plow to cultivate farmland. The name refers to the trench left in farmland by a plow or harrow and pays tribute to Scaleybark's agricultural past.

Among numerous honors, Sayre received the North Carolina Award for Fine Arts in 2012 and the Sir Walter Raleigh Individual Award in 2008.

In 1981, Sayre and architect Steven D. Schuster formed Clearscapes, a multidisciplinary design firm in Raleigh. Clearscapes is involved with building design, product design, and large and small scale artwork. Combining the hands-on process of the sculpture studio with architectural skills, the firm is unique in its combination of talents. Clearscapes won the 2007 North Carolina Firm of the Year award from the American Institute of Architects.

Sayre grew up in Washington, D.C., in the shadow of the Washington National Cathedral. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a Morehead Scholarship and majored in English and studio art, graduating summa cum laude in 1973. He then moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., where he was a Michigan Fellow with a three-year grant from the Ford Foundation to create sculpture at the University of Michigan. In 1975, Sayre attended the Master of Fine Arts Program at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Sayre is married to Joan-Ellen Deck, whom he met while touring as a professional musician in a rock-and-roll band. They have two daughters.

Sayre will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.