Augusta Savage

Previous page | Upon her return to Harlem, she founded the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts with the objective of providing art education within the community. She selflessly ignored her own work to mentor gifted children. Subsequently, she was appointed director of the Harlem Community Arts Center, an institution founded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). From this position, she highlighted racial bias in the hiring practices of the WPA. She successfully gained the inclusion of black artists in WPA projects, with the outcome being the establishment of the Harlem Artists Guild. She influenced a number of future famous artists, including Jacob Lawrence.

She was commissioned by the Fair Corporation to produce a statue for the 1939 New York World's Fair and created one of her major works, The Harp, based on J. Weldon Johnson's Lift Every Voice and Sing. Unfortunately, it was destroyed after the World's Fair. Most of Ms. Savage's works are not available as they were never cast in durable materials and were either lost or destroyed.

In the 1940's, Ms. Savage left Harlem and opened a studio in Saugerties, N.Y. where she continued to teach sculpting to adults and children.

Augusta Savage died on March 26, 1962.
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Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Darlene Hine, Elsa Barkley Brown and Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (eds.), Indiana University Press, 1994.
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Book of Black Heroes: Great Women in the Struggle, Toyomi Igus (ed.), Just Us Books, 1991.
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