Alma W. Thomas, born in 1891, grew up in rural Georgia. To escape racism, her family moved to Washington, D.C., where she attended art school and began to develop her playfully abstract compositions, works that invoke the shapes and colors of nature. In 1972, a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum brought Thomas renown. “Creative art is for all time and is therefore independent of time,” she said. “It is of all ages, of every land, and if by this we mean the creative spirit in man which produces a picture or a statue is common to the whole civilized world, independent of age, race and nationality; the statement may stand unchallenged.” This exhibition showcases 100 of her works, including rarely seen theatrical designs. —E.C.