Creative Professional // Culture Worker // Veteran // Public Speaker // Mom
Samantha Black was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica. At the age of 10, she moved to the United States when her father joined the United States Military. Living in Pittsburgh, she attended Miller African Centered Academy, Rogers Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts, St. Benedict the Moor School, and Oakland Catholic High School. Early on, it was clear that Samantha was a creative with many gifts. During her school years, she was involved in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and modern dance, public speaking, choir, creative writing, the "Future Cities" program and the Oakland Catholic Step Team, to name a few.
At the age of 18, Samantha joined the United States Army as an Ammunition Technician and Petroleum Supply Specialist. During her military years, she served at the 1st Battalion 61st Infantry Regiment at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, the 832nd Ordnance Battalion at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, the 1st Battalion 52nd Aviation Regiment and the 6th Squadron 17th Cavalry Regiment in Fort Wainwright Alaska, and the 962nd Ordnance Company at Schenectady, New York. In 2014, Samantha received an honorable discharge from the active duty army to transition to the Army Reserves with several awards and battalion coins, such as the Good Conduct Medal and several battalion coins for cadence calling.
Samantha then attended college for Hospitality Management and worked in the hospitality industry with Hilton Hotels. It didn’t take long for Samantha’s love of art to resurface. Seeking an opportunity to leverage her various passions and talents, she began her entrepreneurial career by establishing an initiative called "Support Your Local Artist" or "SYLA" for short. She was quickly recognized for her efforts and won second place at "Startup Weekend". Samantha has since worked with organizations and artists to further their careers, young students to cultivate their talent, and as a connector of businesses and local artists. Samantha has designed business plans and programs for organizations throughout Pittsburgh.
Samantha’s current art production medium of choice is light manufacturing in which she works with laser cutters, 3D printers, and welding. She focuses on projects and events at the intersection of art and social change. Her work has been displayed around the city and is generally acquired by collectors. A gifted creative writer, Samantha has also been published by popular websites such as "Very Smart Brothas", "Next Pittsburgh", and "Nubian Impulse".
Samantha Black currently serves on the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Partners Board and Community Advisory Board, Hill District arts council (#ArtsInHD), the Mayor’s Startup and Entrepreneur Advisory Council, and the CITY program with Penn State University. She recently served on the artist selection and design committee for the I-579 CAP project, a $27 Million urban revitalization and greenspace project federally funded by the US Department of Transportation. Samantha also worked as the legislative assistant to the State Representative of the 19th Legislative District and Democratic Chairman of the House Finance Committee, Jake Wheatley Jr.
In recent months, Samantha has become a published author of her first children's book "The Little Bear On My Finger". (For purchase, click here.)
She is now a curator and consultant for SYLA Pgh where she tackles diversity, equity in funding, arts and culture, and socioeconomics . Samantha can also be found doing work for various community creative based organization throughout Pittsburgh such as Nefasi working on the planning team and designing a business plan, #ArtsInHD- Hill District Arts Programmer , and Forward Cities Navigator . In addition to being a curator for the sensational Greenwood Week, she was also a featured speaker at the Advancing Black Arts Panel where she was awarded the Advancing Black Arts Grant for 10k.
In her most challenging and rewarding endeavor yet, Samantha is the mother of two inquisitive, bright and active little people, Gabriel (7) and Tori (6).