Exhibition dates: August 26 through October 15
Visitors to the Williamson Gallery at Scripps College can experience the power of visionary Black art spanning three generations. Gettin’ It Done: A Selection of Work by Elizabeth Catlett, Samella Lewis, Betye Saar, Emma Amos, Alison Saar, Letitia Huckaby, LaToya Hobbs, and Kenturah Davis features works by celebrated artists from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Gallery entrance is free and open to the public.
In 2007, former Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Director of the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery Mary MacNaughton ’70, alumna and artist Alison Saar ’78, and Professor Emerita Susan Rankaitis created the Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection at Scripps with the goal of acquiring works by Dr. Lewis and other significant contemporary artists, with a focus on works by women and artists of color. The first African American woman to earn a doctorate in fine art and art history at Ohio State University and the first tenured Black professor at Scripps College (1969-1984), Dr. Samella Lewis (1923-2022) was at the forefront of promoting Black artists for decades.
The exhibition will highlight pieces in the Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection. Artworks loaned by the Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas, TX; Matthew Brown Gallery, Los Angeles; and The Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, Portland, OR will also be on view. Additional key lenders to the exhibition include LaToya M. Hobbs, Robert E. Holmes, Alitash Kebede, JoAnn and James Newton, and the estate of Samella and Paul Lewis.
“Through her art, her teaching, her writing, and her advocacy, Samella Lewis profoundly impacted not only Scripps College, but the entire fields of art and art history. This exhibition not only celebrates her life, but explores the themes that animated her work, particularly the realities of Black life in the United States during the twentieth century,” said Erin M. Curtis, Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Director of the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery.
“The work in the exhibition expresses humanity and hope, while shedding light on the complexities of Black women’s experiences,” said Curtis. “Mentorship is a key theme in the exhibition: Elizabeth Catlett taught Samella Lewis at Dillard University, and Samella Lewis mentored Alison Saar at Scripps College. ‘Gettin’ It Done’ is imbued with Dr. Lewis’ creative force and singular vision.”