Samuel H. Scripps (1927-2007)

Posted in 80 Faces, 2013.

Samuel H. Scripps made a lasting impression on the world of modern dance. A dedicated patron of the arts, he supported theater and dance institutions across the US and beyond.  The late ADF Co-Director Stephanie Reinhart described him as a “wonder” and a “maverick,” while Director Emeritus Charles L. Reinhart referred to him as “a hero among us.” In 1981, he established the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival award for lifetime achievement, which honors distinguished modern dance choreographers.

In describing his commitment to the arts, Mr. Scripps said, “50 years ago, in those early and lonely years of modern dance, the American Dance Festival was born at Bennington College. Its aim was to give those early pioneering artists–Hanya Holm, Martha Graham, Charles Weidman, and Doris Humphrey–a place to work and create new art.

“Where would modern dance be without them? And where would they, and all who follow them, be without that initial love and support they received from the American Dance Festival? They are the roots of a contemporary American culture. They have created an art form that is synonymous with the word America.  To them we must be grateful, and to the American Dance Festival, we are thankful for giving them a place to mature and grow. Thank you to Hanya, Martha, Doris, and Charles and others, and to all those who follow them.”

Today, his legacy lives on in the SHS Foundation. Headed by Richard E. Feldman, the foundation devotes considerable effort and support to arts institutions around the world.