Alfred University News

Artist Tomáš Penc reflects on his latest work: statues to be awarded at Friday’s Saxon Circle Dinner

Tomáš Penc, with statue designed for Alfred University Alumni Council Award
Tomáš Penc, with statue designed for Alfred University Alumni Council Award

Six bronze statues, cast at Alfred University’s National Casting Center, will be awarded Friday to six Alfred University alumni at the Saxon Circle Dinner of the 2022 Alumni Reunion. The awards, organized by the University’s Alumni Council, celebrate Alfred University alumni nominated for the award by their peers.


Six bronze statues, cast at Alfred University’s National Casting Center, will be awarded Friday to six Alfred University alumni at the Saxon Circle Dinner of the 2022 Alumni Reunion. The awards, organized by the University’s Alumni Council, celebrate Alfred University alumni nominated for the award by their peers.

The artist who designed the statues, 42-year-old Tomáš Penc, is a graduate student in the University’s School of Art and Design. Born in Nový Jičín, Czechoslovakia – now the Czech Republic – Penc moved to Alfred last year to begin studying for his MFA. He says he based the design of the statues on the shapes of trees he had observed during walks around the Alfred area, particularly noting the intertwining of braches of different trees high overhead.

“You have responsibility as an artist,” Penc says. “You can make the world better. You can impress yourself on the world, and your work will influence people who see it, or experience it. They may not take it in consciously or rationally, but it becomes part of the environment.”

Penc worked in numerous trades and crafts before enrolling in Alfred University’s School of Art and Design. In Brno, following his high school education, he translated software and manuals from English into Czech. He went to film school in  Zlín and got interested in  analogue photography. He moved to Ireland and worked for Microsoft and Apple Computers. He traveled, visited India and South America, returned to Ireland and studied art in the Crawford College of Art and Design. He began working as an independent artist, and his statue Eye of the Future is on permanent display at the Douglas National Boys School, in Douglas, Ireland.

He plans to return to Brno this summer to visit his parents.

The statue he designed for Alfred University will be awarded again next year, at the University’s 2023 Alumni Reunion. Penc’s design, in fact, will be used through the 2026 Alumni Reunion, although the material used in the casting of the statues may change. Nominations for next year’s Alumni Council Awards are currently open, and there are five categories: Distinguished Service; Distinguished Achievement; the Lillian T. Nevins Award for Lifetime Service to Alfred University; the Abigail Allen Award for Service to Women; and the Rising Alumni Award. To learn more about the alumni awards program and/or to nominate an Alfred University alumnus/alumna/alumnx for the 2023 award, click here.

Penc meanwhile is looking forward to returning to Alfred University’s School of Art and Design for the 2022 fall semester. “I would like to travel more,” he says. “But I like it here. I’ve lost the ability to rest, but it’s paying off. You have to put in the work.”