Alma Thomas

Alma Thomas was an African American woman born in 1891 in Georgia, and she moved to Washington D.C. later in life. In 1924, she became Howard University’s first fine arts graduate and the first African American with a fine arts degree. She continued to make art into her eighties until she died in 1978. Thomas used rectangular paint strokes and arranged them in her paintings to resemble mosaic. She was inspired by nature, especially light and shadow. 

Today, use collage to create your own abstract art inspired by Alma Thomas’ many paintings. 

This project is one of the virtual classes exploring women artists, hosted on Facebook Live from 1:30-2pm every Wednesday and Friday. Materials and instructions are posted here afterwards. Tune into the live classes to ask questions, give suggestions, and interact with other students who are stuck at home!

If you want to watch the recording of the live video, check out our Facebook page or Youtube channel!


  • construction paper
  • blank paper
  • scissors
  • glue


  1. Check out some of Alma Thomas’ work here!
  2. Decide what kind of design you want to make. Is it going to be a landscape like Alma Thomas’? A flower? Colorful rings?
  3. Cut strips of construction paper in the colors you will need, and cut them into small rectangles.
  4. On a blank sheet of paper, arrange your pieces of construction paper in the design you decided on, and glue them down!

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