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DC | ‘Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful’ Tour & Discussion at the Phillips Collection
November 12, 2021 | 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Join ArtTable’s DC chapter for a special guided tour of Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful at The Phillips Collection with Renee Maurer, coordinating curator for the exhibition, and Gwendolyn Everett, Howard University Professor of Art History. In addition to an overview of the exhibition, among the topics to be discussed during the tour will be new insights gained after spending time with the works assembled for the exhibition, now that the show has reached its second venue; current politics of exhibition organization, challenges and opportunities for representing multiple voices/perspectives, and enriching visitors’ understanding of Alma Thomas, her work, and her impact on the art world in DC and beyond. Jonathan Walz, Director of Curatorial Affairs & Curator of American Art, Columbus Museum of Art, Georgia, and one of the co-curators of the exhibition will join in the conversation.
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The Phillips Collection requires that museum visitors 12 years of age and over show proof of vaccination or a same-day negative COVID-19 test upon entry, along with a government-issued photo ID. Proof of a negative same-day COVID-19 test must come from a health care provider. Results from a self-administered COVID-19 test will not be accepted. All safety COVID-19 protocols including mask-wearing and physical distancing will be followed. All visitors over the age of two are required to wear face masks, regardless of vaccination status, unless an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition. Masks must cover both your mouth and nose, without gaps between your mask and face.
Patrons who do not or cannot comply with the policy will not be allowed into the museum. For those who are unable to visit us in person, or who prefer to enjoy the Phillips from home, we continue to offer numerous online options.
Following DC government, DC Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, The Phillips Collection has developed new cleaning, safety, and operational protocols.
Please stay at home if you are feeling sick. Please do not visit the Museum if you have a fever or any covid-19 symptoms, have tested positive for covid-19 within the past 14 days, or have had close contact with anyone who is confirmed or is suspected of having covid-19.
Please click here to read more about health & safety protocols at The Phillips Collection.
The Phillips Collection is committed to ensuring that the museum’s facilities, services, exhibitions, and programs comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Reasonable accommodations are in place to ensure that people with disabilities have equal physical and communications access, as defined by federal law. If you have specific questions or concerns, please call 202.287.2151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of your visit.
All galleries and public facilities of the museum are wheelchair accessible. A limited number of wheelchairs is available at the coat check. Elevators are available throughout the museum; a wheelchair lift is also available between Goh Annex Floor 3 and the bridge walkway to House Floor 2U. Please see a museum assistant for access to the lift. The Center for Art and Knowledge also has an elevator available for its public programs.
Service animals are welcome.
American Sign Language and a limited number of assistive listening devices for programs and tours are offered by request.
Please click here to read more about accessibility at The Phillips Collection.
The Phillips Collection is located at 1600 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC, near the corner of 21st and Q Streets, NW. The museum is committed to promoting the use of sustainable transportation as a way to reduce local traffic congestion and air pollution. While we do provide driving directions, please consider other transportation options.
Please click here for more detailed information on getting to the Museum via Metro, DC Circulator, Bike, or Car, as well as parking options.
About the Speakers
Gwendolyn H. Everett, art historian, museum educator, curator, and children’s book author, and ArtTable member is an Associate Professor in Art History in the Department of Art at Howard University, Washington, D.C. She formerly served as Associate Dean for the Division of Fine Arts, Director of the Howard University Gallery of Art, and Chairperson of the Department of Art. Everett received her Ph.D. from George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, MA in Art History from Howard, and a BA from Spelman College, where she majored in Studio Art. She is currently co-organizing a symposium, “Alma W. Thomas and David Driskell: Journeys in Art,” with the Howard University Department of Art and the Phillips Collection to coincide with Alma Thomas and David Driskell exhibitions on view at the Phillips, November 13, 2021.
ArtTable member Renee Maurer is Associate Curator, The Phillips Collection, and coordinating curator for the Phillips’s presentation of the Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful exhibition. Other exhibitions she has coordinated include Riffs and Relations: African American Artists and the European Modernist Tradition, guest curated by Adrienne Childs in 2020; A Modern Vision: European Paintings from The Phillips Collection and its tour (2017–2020); Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque (2017); Gauguin to Picasso: Masterworks from Switzerland (2016); American Moments: Photographs from The Phillips Collection (2015); Georges Braque and the Cubist Still Life: 1928–1945 (2013); and Jasper Johns: Variations on a Theme (2012). Prior to working at the Phillips, she was a research assistant at the National Gallery of Art. She received her BA from Dickinson College and her MA from George Washington University.
About the exhibition
Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful provides a fresh perspective on the artist’s dynamic long life (1891-1978) and multifaceted career that was defined by constant creativity. This major retrospective traces her journey from semi-rural Georgia to Washington, DC, to become the first Black woman given a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art at age 80. Through artworks and archival materials, this exhibition demonstrates how Thomas’s wide-reaching artistic practices extended far beyond her studio. It helped shape every facet of her life—from community service to teaching to gardening.
Everything Is Beautiful contextualizes Thomas’s art and life within her creative community, delving into her association with Howard University, American University, and the Barnett Aden Gallery, which she helped co-found. Some of her works are placed alongside examples by her friends and contemporaries, such as Loïs Mailou Jones and Morris Louis, who also helped shape the DC art scene. The exhibition offers an intimate look at this inspiring cultural icon who used her imagination and ingenuity to lead a rich and beautiful life.
Click here to read more about the exhibition.
Thank you to Renee Maurer, Associate Curator, and Erica Harper, Educator, The Phillips Collection.
- Alma Thomas, Pansies for Washington, 1969, acrylic on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Collection (Gift of Vincent Melzac)
- Dr. Gwendolyn Everett
- Renee Maurer
- Ida Jervis, Alma Thomas at Home, 1968, gelatin silver print. Alma Thomas Papers, c. 1894–2001, Of Alma Thomas,1950s–60s, box 5, folder 36. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
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