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Pasadena Public Library Honors Alma Woodsey Thomas With ‘Take & Make’ Bookmark Kit

Published on Monday, February 12, 2024 | 5:09 am

The Pasadena Public Library is paying tribute to Alma Woodsey Thomas, a prominent African-American artist, by offering a Take & Make bookmark kit inspired by her work. The bookmark design is based on Thomas’ 1968 abstract painting “Untitled,” which is currently displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in Los Angeles.

Starting Monday, February 12, library patrons can reserve the kit for pick up at the Hastings Branch Library while supplies last. This initiative is part of the library’s ongoing efforts to engage the community and promote art appreciation.

Thomas, born in Columbus, Georgia in 1891, moved to Washington, D.C. with her family in 1907. She attended Howard University and became its first fine arts graduate in 1924. Thomas spent 35 years teaching art at a D.C. junior high school while pursuing her own painting part-time. Her early art was realistic, but she was encouraged to experiment with abstraction by her Howard professor James V. Herring and peer Loïs Mailou Jones. 

Upon retiring from teaching, Thomas developed her signature abstract style and debuted her work in an exhibition at Howard in 1966 at the age of 75.

Thomas’ abstractions have been compared with Byzantine mosaics, the Pointillist technique of Georges Seurat, and the paintings of the Washington Color School, yet her work is quite distinctive. Thomas became an important role model for women, African Americans, and older artists. 

The Hastings Branch Library is located at 3325 E. Orange Grove Blvd. in East Pasadena. For more, call (626) 744-7262.

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