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Event name

Composing Color: Paintings by Alma Thomas


Tue 06 / 11 / 2024
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM



Who can attend

Open to all


Composing Color: Paintings by Alma Thomas
from Northwest Neighbors Village
registration required. 

Speaker: Melissa Ho

Alma Thomas is a singular figure in the story of twentieth-century American art. She developed her exuberant form of abstract painting late in life, after retiring from a long career as a schoolteacher. Blossoming in the mid-1960s, her vibrant, rhythmic art transcended established genres, incorporating elements of gestural abstraction and color field painting. Thomas’s abiding sources of inspiration were nature, the cosmos, and music. She created a style distinctly her own, characterized by the dazzling interplay of pattern and hue.

Join curator Melissa Ho for an introduction to the exhibition Composing Color: Paintings by Alma Thomas at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Melissa Ho is the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s curator of 20th-century art; she joined the museum’s staff in September 2016. Ho is responsible for research, acquisitions and exhibitions related to the museum’s collections focusing on art since 1945. She currently is leading an initiative to expand and enrich the representation of Asian American experiences, perspectives and artistic accomplishment in the museum’s collection and public displays.  

Recent projects include “American Voices and Visions: Modern and Contemporary Art” (2023), the first phase of a multiyear renewal and reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection galleries, and “Composing Color: The Paintings of Alma Thomas” (2023), which will travel to several venues in the United States. Ho organized the critically acclaimed exhibition “Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975” (2019) and “Artist to Artist” (2021).