I met Cynthia and Ben Sams at his second exhibition at the Fountain Gallery in Portland in 1976. I visited them in Snohomish several times. He was a remarkably easy going, congenial, and caring person. He did not have the personality for self-promotion or game-playing, which no doubt played a role in his decision to quit the art world.  It was his first wife, Dana Boussard, who was significantly, if not decisively, responsible for his amazing output and the impressive number of exhibits he had as a student. In his commentary, John Armstrong notes that his professors offered little support. As many of the Reviews do, a note from an unnamed artist friend attests to the originality and influence of his art.

Finally, as per your last paragraph, I think you should be delighted that “some of your contemporaries are capitalizing on your ideas to their advantage.” . . . . You’re fair game along with the rest of us . . . and when the quality of your work is worth copying . . . well it’s sort of a tribute. Eventually, the people will come to know and recognize the source of the innovation.

The last time I saw him was by chance in May, 2002, a month before his sudden death.

Robert Dale



It was Cynthia Sams who entrusted me with the development of this site and provided me with almost all of its content. Her encouragement and support were invaluable. It is profoundly sad that she did not live to see it completed or the recent exhibit of Ben’s work at the Portland Art Museum. 

I want to express my deep appreciation to:

Dana Boussard, Ben’s first wife, for her encouragement and the invaluable information she provided.

John Armstrong, artist and classmate of Ben’s, for his support and significant contribution to the site. His commentary provides a unique and insightful view of Ben’s art and contribution.

And, especially, my wife, Irene, for her unwavering support and unbounded patience.