In 1965, after a brief period as a commercial fisherman in Kodiak, Alaska, Scott was offered a job teaching at Morgan State College in Baltimore, Md. Here his work was seen by Eugene Leak, the President of the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Scott was offered a full scholarship and teaching job there. Some of Scott’s teachers during this time include: Clyfford Still, Philip Guston, David Hare, Grace Hartigan, and Savatore Scarpitta. During this period Scott also served his country on a classified mission to the Amazon Jungle working for the DOE and the State Department. As a result of this mission and others, all atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons by the United States was stopped. Scott graduated Summa Cum Laude at the head of his class and was awarded the Walters Art Museum Traveling Scholarship award to the outstanding graduate student.
In 1969 Scott settled down in Santa Fe. In 1974 he was awarded the first one person show ever given to a living artist by the New Mexico Fine Arts Museum. In 1975 Scott was among the first artists to represent New Mexico at the Whitney Museum Biennial of Contemporary Art in New York City. In 1977 Scott was one of three artists elected to represent 110 artists at the City Council of Santa Fe, and he was elected at that time also to direct and hang the first Santa Fe Amory Show. In 1978 Scott accepted a teaching position at the University of Arizona and was subsequently invited to become a tenure track Professor of Painting and Drawing. Scott returned to Santa Fe in 1983 and has been based there and in Pilar, New Mexico since that time.
In 1994 Scott received the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts from the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1995 Scott was invited to address the United Nations, where he was awarded the Peace Rose by Sri Chinmoy, of the United Nations Peace Meditation Group. In 1997 Scott was given a thirty year retrospective at the New Mexico Fine Arts Museum, entitled “Sam Scott: An American Voice Paintings 1967-1997. In 1999 Scott was one of three artists chosen by the State Department to represent the United States in person at its first post war cultural exchange with the republic of Vietnam, through the Meridian Foundation and the Kimsey Foundation. In 2002, Scott was among the first American painters to be invited to show at La Maison Francaise Museum of Contemporary Art at the Embassy of France in Washington, D.C.
In 2007, Scott wrote “Encounters with Beauty: Excerpts from an Artists Journal 1963-2006”, which was edited and with an introduction by William Peterson. This book was one of three finalists for the New Mexico Book Awards Foundation “Best Book: Other/Non-Fiction” 2008- Scott lives with his wife, Leslie McNamara, and cat, Cooter, in Santa Fe, where he enjoys walking to work at his studio every day. Sam Scott is one of five artists in various media who were chosen to represent the Capital Art Collection as a “State Treasure”, in the Capital Building of Santa Fe.