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Alma W. Thomas Ornament

Alma W. Thomas Ornament

By St. Nicolas

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After a long career as a schoolteacher, Alma W. Thomas devoted her retirement to art-making. She achieved recognition as the first African-American woman to have a retrospective exhibit at the Whitney Museum in 1972.

Custom-made for the Chrysler Museum Shop on the occasion of the exhibit, Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful, our hand-crafted fabric ornament depicts Alma wearing the dress she often wore while working in her studio. She holds a representation of one of her late-career paintings. Let this keepsake ornament remind you of the power of education and art, and that it's never too late to make an impact!

  • A portion of the proceeds from this item will be donated towards the Alma W. Thomas Endowment Scholarship Fund at Howard University's Department of Art
  • Ornament is 6 inches (15.2 cm) tall not including the hanging loop
  • Hand-made by skilled artisans in Thailand (certified Fair Trade)

Explore related artwork by Alma Thomas at the Chrysler Museum

Product Details

  • Product type: Holiday Ornament
  • Shipping weight: 0.13 lb (2.0 oz; 57 g)
  • SKU010004489

About the Artist, Alma Thomas

Alma Woodsey Thomas (American, 1891 - 1978) was an African-American artist and teacher who lived and worked in Washington, D.C., and is now recognized as a major American painter of the 20th century. Thomas is best known for the "exuberant", colorful, abstract paintings that she created after her retirement from a 35-year career teaching art at Washington's Shaw Junior High School.

Thomas, who is often considered a member of the Washington Color School of artists but alternatively classified by some as an Expressionist, earned her teaching degree from University of the District of Columbia (known as Miner Normal School at the time) and was the first graduate of Howard University's Art department, and maintained connections to that university through her life. She achieved success as an African-American female artist despite the segregation and prejudice of her time.

Thomas's reputation has continued to grow since her death. Her paintings are displayed in notable museums and collections, and they have been the subject of several books and solo museum exhibitions. She was the subject of the Chrysler-curated exhibition, Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful.

About St. Nicolas

Based in the United Kingdom, St. Nicolas specializes in bespoke decorations for Christmas and other occasions. All decorations are handmade, and the time taken to make each one is reflected in their unique quality.

For over 25 years St. Nicolas has worked with a small charity in Thailand that helps disadvantaged rural women find work in their community, rather than being forced to leave home to work in a factory. Today, some 200 skilled women work at home sewing the decorations, and many of them have been doing so for more than 10 years. All of the historical figure decorations are made in this way as well as numerous other designs.

St. Nicolas is proud to be a member of BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Suppliers) and supports the 10 Principles of Fair Trade, as set out by the World Fair Trade Organization.

More Information

Alma W. Thomas
This checkered pattern was re-created for Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful by Elka Stevens, Associate Professor of visual culture and studio art in the Department of Art at Howard University, where Alma Thomas was the first graduate of the university’s fine arts program. Thomas wore a garment in this pattern when working in her studio. (A reproduction of the garment is in the exhibition.)

A portion of the proceeds from this item supports the Alma W. Thomas Endowment Scholarship Fund at Howard University’s Department of Art, in honor of Thomas’s legacy as an arts educator and fine artist.

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Thank You for your Support

Your purchase supports the mission and programs of the Chrysler Museum of Art (including the Perry Glass Studio, and the Moses Myers House). We couldn't do what we do without you. Thank you.

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