1913 - 1998
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Noted British Columbia artist and art educator Sam Black was born in Ardrossan, Scotland on 5 June 1913. He graduated in 1936 from the Glasgow School of Art and received his Teachers Certificate and Art Teachers Diploma in 1937. He then continued studies in Paris, London and Brussels until World War II began.
Black enlisted in the Royal Scottish Fusiliers and received a commission in the Officer Corps. He saw military action in France, Belgium and Germany and was decorated with three military stars–the Defence Medal, an Oak Leaf and the Belgian Medaille Civile for bravery. He also served on the War Artists Committee and completed his military service as a Major in 1946. Black’s war paintings are held in the permanent collection of the Imperial War Museum in London.
He came to Canada in 1957 to teach a summer session as a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia. The following year, he accepted a faculty position at UBC as a professor of fine arts and art education. He remained there until his retirement in 1978.
Black was a founding member of the International Society for Education Through Art, and served as President of the Canadian chapter. Awarded the Master Teacher award, he enjoyed teaching and often said that “Teaching is Art; Art is teaching.” An entire generation of fine art educators came out of his classroom.
He was elected to the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colour (1953), the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour in 1963, the Print and Drawing Council of Canada in 1964 and the Royal Canadian Academy in 1977. In 1990, UBC honoured Black’s unique contributions as an artist and educator by conferring upon him the degree Doctor of Letters.