Artist, educator, scholar, curator, writer, administrator, editor, filmmaker and collector, Samella Lewis has played a crucial role in the development in most every aspect of African American Art.
In Los Angeles, Lewis is known as the founder of the Museum of African American Art where she served a chief curator from the museum’s inception in 1976 through 1986. Lewis also founded The Gallery at Scripps College where she was a professor (1969 – 1984). Scripps recently honored Lewis, a Professor Emerita, with the creation of the Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection.
In 1996, Lewis explained her professorial and curatorial philosophy, “Black women are nurturers. We nurture our families by seriously listening to and seriously considering what they tell us. We also have an obligation to see that valuing and collecting contemporary art is a significant aspect of nurturing. We must familiarize ourselves with our historical and contemporary art in order to understand and know ourselves.”
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