Samella Lewis Collection

One of the College’s current strategic planning goals is to build a collection of contemporary art that will, as President Nancy Bekavac says, “enhance students’ understanding of art of our time by seeing examples of extraordinary work.” Out of discussions begun by artists Susan Rankaitis, Fletcher Jones Professor of Art at Scripps, and artist Alison Saar ’78, came the idea of a collection of contemporary art named after one of the College’s most distinguished emerita professors, Dr. Samella Lewis.

We are pleased to announce the Samella Lewis Collection of Contemporary Art in honor of Dr. Lewis, the first tenured African American faculty member at Scripps, who taught art history at Scripps from 1969 through 1984. As one of the founders of the Museum of African Art in Los Angeles, the author of several books on African American art history, and the producer of four films on African American artists, Dr. Lewis has been a leader in her field. She also has been a mentor to Scripps alumnae, many of whom have gone on to careers in the visual arts. In recognition of her excellence as an artist, teacher, and scholar, Scripps adds this honor to the Samella Lewis Scholarship, which awards an African American student for her “academic achievement, character and leadership.” Like the scholarship, the Samella Lewis Collection of Contemporary Art will benefit Scripps women who study art.

This collection will honor Dr. Lewis by acquiring works by Samella Lewis; seeking donations of works by contemporary artists; creating an acquisition fund to build the Scripps Collection; and enhancing the collection of work by past and present studio art faculty.

For more information, contact Nancy Ambrose at (909) 607-7533.