Current work



Public Art





Barbara Earl Thomas | biography | shows | services | contacts | links

Barbara Thomas is a visual artist and a writer with a longstanding record as an arts administrator. She has overseen programs for Seattle’s Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Northwest’s largest arts Festival, Bumbershoot. She is currently the Curator and Deputy Director of the Northwest African American Museum that will open in 2007. Her administrative career spans more than 20 years and her professional art career that is thankfully still in progress spans 25 years. In her administrative career she has worked with individual artists in all genres and with most of Seattle's Arts-presenting organizations. She has created programs for individual artists and overseen large and complicated budgets.

In her life as an artist she has exhibited her work consistently since 1982. She has since 1997 worked in egg tempera because as she says “I am hyper and egg tempera is a demanding sweet tormentor.” Her most recent foray into printing has become her next new love. She is a well-known lecturer on arts and culture and has in the past decade taken up the pen. Her essays have been anthologized and included in artist catalogues. She most recently co-authored a monograph with curator Sheryl Conkelton on the work of Gwen Knight Lawrence to accompany Ms. Knight's retrospective at the Tacoma Art Museum, 2003. She is currently working on a monograph for artist Joe Fedderson that will be published as part of the Jacob and Gwen Lawrence endowed series on American artists in 2007.

Barbara is a confirmed bibliophile. One of her recent best reads is Francisco Goya: A Life, by Evan S. Connell. This book is excellent. Of it she says “Inquisitions are not to be desired. Vote no if you ever have the chance.”

As a Seattle based painter and writer Barbara has exhibited artwork at the Seattle Art Museum, The Bellevue Art Museum, and Whatcom County Museum and in museums throughout the U.S. In 2005 she had major solo exhibitions at the Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, Evansville, ID and at the Meadows Museum in Shreveport, LA. Her work is included in a number of prestigious private and public collections such as the Safeco Corporate Collection, the Microsoft Corporate Collection, The City of Seattle One Percent for Art and the Seattle Art Museum permanent collection. She is represented in Washington by the Francine Seders Gallery.

In 1998 & 2000 she received The Seattle Arts Commission award for new non-fiction. Her essays have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies, including Raven Chronicles, Aorta, Gathering Ground, A Single Mother's Companion, Calyx, Intimate Nature: The Bonds Between Women and Animals, The Gift of Birds: True Encounters with Avian Spirits and Writing Down the River: Into the Heart of the Grand Canyon.