Samella Lewis: An American Art Icon

Samella Lewis: An American Art Icon

April 28 - September 18, 2016

How does one earn the title “American Art Icon?” To achieve such an honor, we have only to look at the life and accomplishments of Samella Lewis, Ph.D., whose influence on African American art and culture has been so immense that her impact is yet to be determined. During her long and still active career, she has worked as an artist, art historian, educator, scholar, author, publisher, filmmaker, museum founder, art administrator, curator, gallerist, art collector, wife, mother, and much more.

All are welcome to the opening reception on Thursday, April 28, 2016 from 6 - 9 PM for The Wright Museum's newest exhibition, Samella Lewis: An American Art Icon, presented in partnership with the National Conference of Artists. Light refreshments will be served, and the event is free and open to the public.

Lewis’ art has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and can be found in many museums and private collections. She has published numerous scholarly books, journals, and art catalogs. Her trove of awards and honors include the UNICEF Award for the Visual Arts and the Distinguished Scholar Award at the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities in Los Angeles. Also, a scholarship at Scripps College has been named in her honor.

About Samella Lewis

A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Lewis was born on February 27, 1924. Early on, she began to view art as essential to African American life and culture. She attended Dillard University, where Elizabeth Catlett was her instructor, mentor, and later became her lifelong friend. Lewis transferred to Hampton Institute, where she earned her B.A. in art history in 1945. She completed her graduate studies at The Ohio State University, earning her M.A. in 1948, and her doctorate in fine art and art history in 1951—the first African American woman to do so.

Samella Lewis: An American Art Icon is free with museum admission.

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