DEC 18 Gallery Talk: “Local Ladies”

Stop by NMWA for some local flavor! 

Looking for some artistic and intellectual nourishment during your lunch break? Join us on Wednesdays throughout the winter for short gallery talks to explore highlights from special exhibitions and NMWA’s collection with museum staff.

This week, Digital Media Specialist Laura Hoffman will introduce you to the paintings of three local legends: Georgia Mills Jessup, Loïs Mailou Jones, and Alma Woodsey Thomas


Georgia Mills Jessup, who was born in 1926 in Washington, D.C., studied art at local D.C. institutions, such as Howard University, Catholic University, and American University. A self-described “melting pot” for her mixed heritage, Jessup could apply this term in reference to her mastery of several art mediums.

Loïs Mailou Jones (1905–1998) moved to Washington, D.C., when she was recruited by Howard University, where she taught art from 1930–77 and trained several generations of African American artists. In a career spanning more than 70 years, Loïs Mailou Jones overcame racial and gender prejudices to become a successful and influential painter, designer, and educator.

Alma Woodsey Thomas’s family moved to Washington, D.C., from Georgia in 1907. She (1891–1978) was Howard University’s first fine arts graduate in 1921 and had Loïs Mailou Jones as her professor. After teaching at a D.C. junior high school for 35 years, Thomas developed her signature style—large, abstract paintings filled with dense, irregular patterns of bright colors—in her 70s.