Film / Video

2021, 20 minutes


Watch trailer

Alma W. Thomas broke color barriers on and off the canvas, yet did not receive national attention until she was 80.

Born a generation after slavery, Alma Woodsey Thomas grew up in the South, in a home where education was a priority. At 16, with racial tensions high and no further schooling options, her family moved to Washington, DC, where she started her incredible life of firsts: the first Fine Arts graduate from Howard University (1924), the first African-American Woman to mount a solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1972), and the first African-American woman to exhibit her paintings in the White House (2009). All the while, she taught art at Shaw Jr. High for 36 years, pioneered educational techniques, travelled the world, and crossed racial barriers.

MISS ALMA THOMAS: A LIFE IN COLOR is the first documentary film that explores Thomas’ incredible life through the lens of curators, art specialists, scholars, and her family, and features award-winning actress Alfre Woodard as the voice of Alma Thomas. Released in conjunction with a major four-city museum retrospective, thousands will have the opportunity to learn of her life, work, and continuing influence.

Writer-director-editor: Cheri Gaulke
Co-writer: Sue Maberry
Producer: Jon Gann
Cinematographer: Tim Wilson
Original Music: Chari Glogovac-Smith
Graphics: Gene Cowan
Animator: Tashel Bean
Produced in association with the traveling museum exhibition, Everything is Beautiful, curated by Seth Feman and Jonathan Frederick Walz

Visit the film’s website