Centenary College Home Centenary News

News Service

2911 Centenary

Post Office
Box 4188


318 869-5120

318 841-7266


Contact: Diane G. Dufilho, Director, Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary, 318-869-5040, or Centenary News Service, 318-869-7265

The Big Fish: The Art of Barbara Earl Thomas Opens Exhibition Season Aug. 20 at Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College

Barbara Earl Thomas
"Reunions, My Mother and Dreams of Fish"
tempera on paper, 1984
unf.: 36.5 x 53"

SHREVEPORT, LA — The Big Fish: The Art of Barbara Earl Thomas opens the exhibition season at the Meadows Museum of Art on Aug. 20. A calendar of events that includes a special members’ reception to welcome Seattle artist Barbara Earl Thomas to Shreveport, gallery lectures, volunteer training sessions, and more are included as part of the festivities.

The Big Fish and its presentation to the Shreveport-Bossier community represent an important milestone in the life of the artist, Barbara Earl Thomas, whose familial roots emanate from both Shreveport and Ruston. Although born in Seattle in 1948, where she was also raised, Thomas is the daughter and granddaughter of a Louisiana family that migrated to Seattle from Northwest Louisiana in the 1940s in search of more opportunities and ultimately a better life.

Barbara Earl Thomas

Although from Seattle, Ms. Thomas has been and continues to be influenced by her Southern heritage. Of her work she states, “I am a maker, a painter and storyteller filled with all the history and lore my Louisiana family brought to the northwest in the 1940s. When I paint or write, my hand is moved by Southern life imposed on a Northwest landscape. In Shreveport, I return to a place I’ve never been, but that has so shaped my view of the world that I can only call it home.” As part of the Meadows Museum of Art presentation, Thomas has created a special installation piece designed for her Shreveport “return”.

Thomas received her master of fine arts from the University of Washington, where she studied with legendary American master visual artist Jacob Lawrence, her mentor and long-time friend. Thomas also enjoyed a friendship with Gwen Knight, acclaimed visual artist and wife of Lawrence. Thomas' paintings combine discipline with passion and are carefully composed and painted in egg tempera on paper. While small in scale and subdued in color, her works are full of human drama with figures tossed on the surface of tumultuous seas or up in the skies that represent the precarious state of the world in the new millennium.

Thomas is also an accomplished writer, whose essays have appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. Storm Watch, a book of her paintings and writings, was published in Spring 1998 by the University of Washington Press.

Thomas’ career as an arts administrator spans more than 20 years. Currently she is marketing coordinator for the Elliott Bay Book Company as well as curator for the forthcoming Northwest African American Museum. Thomas’ work has been exhibited in museums throughout the U.S. and is included in a number of public and private collections. She has been represented by the Francine Seders Gallery since 1984. "The Meadows Museum of Art is delighted to host this exhibition and to welcome this extraordinary artist 'back home,'" said museum director Diane Dufilho.

The Meadows Museum of Art exhibition The Big Fish: The Art of Barbara Earl Thomas will be on view from Aug. 20 to Oct. 23, 2005. A members’ reception for Friends of the Algur Meadows Museum is scheduled Sept. 10, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Calendar of Events for
The Big Fish: The Art of Barbara Earl Thomas (Aug. 20 – Oct. 23, 2005)
Saturday, Aug. 20, 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
The Big Fish: The Art of Barbara Earl Thomas opens to the general public

Monday, Aug. 29, 9:30 a.m.-noon
Docent recruitment for the Meadows Museum Education Department

Thursday and Friday, Sept. 7-8, 9 a.m-noon
Barbara Earl Thomas morning tours with school children in the Meadows Museum with observations and narrative development with storytellers Jeannine Pasini Beekman, Thelma Harrison,and Sally Sullivan. Afternoon outreach visits to schools and community sites in the Shreveport-Bossier and Ruston area by Barbara Thomas

Thursday, Sept. 8, Public convocation on campus with Barbara Earl Thomas, 11 a.m., Hurley School of Music, Anderson Auditorium. Ms. Thomas will speak on the topic "sense of place"—how one's identity and understanding of the world is shaped by his or her family of origin and the community(ies)to which he or she is connected by birth, choice and other circumstances.

Saturday, Sept. 10, 6- 7:30 p.m. in the Meadows Museum
Members’ Reception for Barbara Earl Thomas

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2- 3 p.m. in the Meadows Museum
Lecture entitled The Big Fish by Barbara Earl Thomas

Monday, Sept. 12, 9:30 a.m.-noon in the Meadows Museum
Docent Training for The Big Fish with special guest Barbara Earl Thomas

Sunday, Oct. 9, 2-3:45 p.m. in the Meadows Museum
Lectures on The Life and Art of Jacob Lawrence by Dr. Walter O. Evans and The Life and Art of Gwen Knight by Mrs. Walter O. Evans of Savannah, Ga., in the museum gallery; light refreshments

The Meadows Museum of Art is located on the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana at 2911 Centenary Boulevard. The Museum hours of operation are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from noon–4 pm.; Thursday from noon-5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Admission to Meadows Museum of Art is free to the public. For more information or an exhibition brochure, call the museum at 318-869-5040.

- 30 -