Each year the Delaplaine selects one groundbreaking artist to celebrate. The artist and their artworks provide inspiration for our annual gala and many of our educational public programs and Community Outreach classes and workshops through the year.

We are pleased to provide free 11″ x 17″ posters of our Artists of Inspiration to anyone interested. Posters are mailed flat in a 9″ x 12″ envelope (the posters are folded once). To receive a poster, contact us.


April 2019 – March 2020

Andy Warhol

If you want to know about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.” —Andy Warhol, 1966

Born in 1928 Pennsylvania to Eastern European immigrants, Andy Warhol emerged from poverty and obscurity to become one of the most famous and important artists of the 20th century. He studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in the late 1940s, and by the 1960s was a full-fledged Pop Art phenomenon living and working in New York City. Warhol did not confine himself to any one media, and experimented with painting, silkscreening, photography, film, and more. The prolific artist explored extensively the connection of celebrity culture, advertising, and artistic expression. His iconic artworks, such as his silkscreened images of Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s Soup Cans, and unique style made him a much sought-after artist and fashion trendsetter. Warhol died in 1987 having made an indelible mark on the world of art.



April 2018 – March 2019

Alma Thomas

The use of color in my paintings is of paramount importance to me. Through color I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than man’s inhumanity to man.” —Alma Thomas, 1970

Born in 1891 in Georgia, Alma Thomas relocated with her family to Washington, DC, and graduated from Armstrong Technical School in 1911. She taught in Delaware for a half-dozen years, returning to DC in 1921 to enter Howard University. In 1924, Thomas became the first person to graduate from Howard with a degree in fine arts. Thomas taught at Shaw Junior High School in Washington, DC, for the remainder of her teaching career.

She furthered her art education while at Shaw, earning a Masters in Art Education from Columbia University in 1934, and taking classes at American University. Thomas threw herself into painting full-time following her retirement in 1960. Until her death in 1978, she created a distinct body of artwork, utilizing strong design and bold colors.

In 1966, Thomas’s first retrospective exhibit was held at Howard University. Both the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art held solo exhibits of her artwork in 1972. Her show at the Whitney marked another milestone first: the museum’s first solo exhibit by an African-American woman. September 9, 1972, was declared “Alma Thomas Day” in Washington, DC, a testament to the artist’s impact and achievements. In 2015, she became the first African-American woman to have artwork added to the White House permanent collection.



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