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The Columbus Museum Receives $100,000 Warhol Foundation Grant for Groundbreaking Alma Thomas Exhibition

Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful Is Co-Organized with The Chrysler Museum of Art, Will Open At the Chrysler Museum in 2021

Alma W. Thomas, Air View of a Spring Nursery, 1966, acrylic on canvas, G.1979.53, Collection of The Columbus Museum.

COLUMBUS, Ga. (June 26, 2020) — The Columbus Museum has received a $100,000 grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for the upcoming exhibition Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful, an award that underscores the importance of Thomas’ work and legacy.

The exhibition, slated to open summer of 2021, is co-organized by Jonathan Frederick Walz, Ph.D., Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of American Art at The Columbus Museum, and Seth Feman, Ph.D., Deputy Director for Art and Interpretation and Curator of Photography at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va. The exhibition will open at the Chrysler Museum and includes stops at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and The Frist Art Museum in Nashville, Tenn. before closing at The Columbus Museum in 2022.

“We are so pleased to receive this grant, which highlights the importance of Alma Thomas’ legacy to the visual arts,” said Marianne Richter, Director of The Columbus Museum. “The Columbus Museum and the Chrysler Museum of Art are grateful to the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts for supporting the exhibition so generously. The award will help immeasurably in supporting the costs of the exhibition and its catalogue, thereby broadening both scholarly and public understanding of the importance of the creative process for Alma Thomas in both her art and life.”

Organizers note Everything Is Beautiful is the first exhibition to seriously consider Thomas' work before 1950 and therefore is a true retrospective. The exhibition will provide a comprehensive overview of Thomas’ long life (1891–1978) with approximately 100 works, including her rarely seen theatrical designs and beloved abstract paintings. While other exhibitions have focused primarily on Thomas’ paintings, Everything is Beautiful will track her artistic journey from semi-rural Georgia to international recognition, demonstrating how her artistic practices extended to every facet of her life—from community service and teaching to gardening and dress. The show will also include a significant number of works that were not included in previous exhibitions about Alma Thomas.

“The Chrysler Museum is excited to partner with The Columbus Museum to bring the story of this groundbreaking artist to audiences across the country,” said Erik Neil, Director of the Chrysler Museum of Art.  “The Columbus Museum’s rich collection of Thomas’ work allows for the opportunity to present an unprecedented look at her accomplishments. We are honored to have the support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as we uncover rarely exhibited pieces and present unique discoveries, even for those who are familiar with Thomas’ work.”

The exhibition will be organized around multiple themes from Thomas’ experience. These themes include the context of her Washington Color School cohort, the creative communities connected to Howard University and peers who protested museums that did not represent artists of color. Diverse artworks and archival materials will reveal the artist’s complex and deliberate artistic existence before, during and after the years of her “mature” output and career-making solo show at the Whitney Museum in 1972.

Ida Jervis, Alma Thomas at Home , 1971, gelatin silver print, G.1994.20.172.4, Collection of The Columbus Museum.

About The Columbus Museum: Founded in 1953, The Columbus Museum is one of the largest museums in the Southeast and is unique for its dual concentration on American art and regional history, displayed in its permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, and educational programs. The Museum strives to be a cultural leader, distinguishing itself through an approach that engages visitors, stimulates creativity, inspires critical thinking, sparks conversations, and brings art and history to life.

About The Chrysler Museum: The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of the Chrysler’s collection comes from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum. The Museum has growing collections in many areas and mounts an ambitious schedule of visiting exhibitions and educational programs each season.

About The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts: In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, the mission of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is the advancement of the visual arts. The foundation manages an innovative and flexible grants program while also preserving Warhol’s legacy through creative and responsible licensing policies and extensive scholarly research for ongoing catalogue raisonné projects. To date, the foundation has given over $218 million in cash grants to over 1,000 arts organizations in 49 states and abroad and has donated 52,786 works of art to 322 institutions worldwide.


Bridgette Russell
Director of Marketing and Public Relations
The Columbus Museum
706.748.2562 ext. 5410