Combining pointillism, abstract expressionism, and mosaic painting, Alma Thomas's vibrancy exudes through the scenes and images displayed throughout her work. Gaining attention for her art much later in life than most, she was the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition during 1972 at the Whitney Museum in New York City.
Though she earned her BS in Fine Arts from Howard University in 1921 (making her one of the first graduates of the university's Fine Art program), she was not recognized as a fine artist until she had retired from her work as a public school teacher in 1960.
During her career as a teacher, she created a community arts program alongside fellow painter Malika Roberts which encouraged their students' appreciation of fine arts. The program incorporated student-designed greeting cards which were distributed to local veterans, marionette performances, and many other mediums.
Thomas's style has drawn inspiration from Byzantine mosaics and West African paintings. Her post-retirement education at American University introduced her to Color Field, the movement and theory between it, leading her to the interest of color composition.
She would often venture to the countryside with artist Delilah Pierce to seek inspiration from Earth's natural canvas, taking inspiration from the effects of light & atmosphere within rural settings. Since her passing, her work has been featured in institutions all over the world (Art Institute of Chicago; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; National Gallery of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego) and even within Michelle Obama's East Wing office.