Sam Carter – a champion of applied art and design

The Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design is named, in part, after artist, leader and educator, Sam Carter. Synonymous with applied art and design in BC and throughout the world, Sam has the gained international respect and admiration of artists, students and art educators. In 2017, he was recognized as the Award of Distinction Laureate of the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design.  

Over the past 50 years, Sam has dedicated himself to the collecting, curating, and designing of exhibitions that reflect and showcase design, craft, and applied arts within Canada.  

Emigrating from California in 1965, Sam began his Canadian career working at the Ontario Science Centre where, as a senior designer, he helped create interactive exhibits, many of which focused on Canadian contributions to science. 

Sam continued his contributions to Canadian art and design, through his work with the Ontario College of Art organizing “culture probes” that engaged students, faculty, corporations, government, and communities in various creative projects. 

Once he settled in British Columbia, Sam taught at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art and Design). Here he contributed (and still contributes as a Professor Emeritus) to the documentation and elevation of Canadian design and applied arts, through online history and theory courses, events, and exhibitions. As well, through his mentorship of students, Sam developed life-long friendships with artists now recognized in BC and beyond for their unique and beautiful design creations. 

Throughout all his work, Sam’s exhibitions and events have shone a light on works by Canadian designers, craftspeople, and applied artists from all regions of this country. He has enabled people from all walks of life to enjoy the diverse elegance of Canadian design, craft, and applied arts and, in doing so, has brought international attention to Canadian talent, for which he has an enduring and dedicated passion. 

As the curator for all fifteen annual exhibitions which have celebrated the awardees of the Carter Wosk Award in Applied Art + Design program, Sam Carter continues to be a leading advocate and champion for applied art and design in BC. His efforts have advanced and elevated the collective conversation around Canada’s functional art and design successes while creating a legacy to inspire future generations. 

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