These creative pursuits illuminate how, in the face of representational mandates levied at Black artists and women artists about the kinds of images and selves they should present, Thomas publicly expressed “the complexity of her spirit,” as James V. Herring put it.

—Tiffany Barber, “In Quiet Pursuit of Art and Life on the Edge,” in Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful 

Join us for a fellowship event by and for Black creatives in Nashville. Inspired by the exhibition Alma W. Thomas: Everything Is Beautiful, we will gather to discuss the politics and value of creating for creation’s sake.  

Since W. E. B. Du Bois’s monumental 1926 speech “Criteria of Negro Art,” the trajectory of Black American creativity has involved an ongoing interrogation of artists’ responsibility: Should Black artists create with political goals in mind? How would creating for personal expression alone impact individual Black artists and the community at large? Everything Is Beautiful embodies these questions.  

We invite Black creatives of all disciplines to join us for a discussion of Thomas’s life and work, the value of Black creative practice, and our political obligations (or lack thereof) as artists. The program will include a viewing of the exhibition, followed by a guided discussion and a hands-on creative project. We hope to hear your voices! 

This program was developed by Ember Tharpe, spring 2022 Frist Art Museum education and engagement intern. 

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