Artist and art historian Samella Lewis is renowned for her contributions to African American art and art history. Born on February 27, 1924, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Lewis's heritage led her to view art as an essential expression of the community and its struggles.
Lewis' work was exhibited in many important galleries and museums. Lewis's deeply-personal art embodies some experience from her own life in each piece. Lewis received several awards and distinctions; in 1995, she received the UNICEF Award for the Visual Arts, and from 1996 to 1997 worked as a distinguished scholar at the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities in Los Angeles. Scripps College has also named an academic scholarship in Lewis's honor.