Dr. Synthia Saint James – Artist, Educator, Speaker, Author


Dr. Synthia SAINT JAMES is a world renowned multicultural visual artist, author and illustrator of 27 books, who has garnered numerous prestigious awards in her
nearly fifty year career. SAINT JAMES is most noted for designing the first Kwanzaa stamp for the United States Postal Service, and for the national and international cover art of Terry McMillan’s book Waiting to Exhale.

Synthia SAINT JAMES is a world renowned multicultural visual artist, an award winning author and/or illustrator of 17 children’s books, several poetry and affirmation books, a cookbook, a play, a monologue, and the autobiographical book titled Living My Dream: An Artistic Approach to Marketing (which was nominated for a NAACP Image Award in 2012).

She is also a popular keynote speaker, educator and architectural designer who has garnered numerous awards, including the prestigious Trumpet Award, a Coretta Scott King Award, and an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Saint Augustine’s University. Dr. SAINT JAMES also serves as a Global Ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s “Circle of Promise”

Synthia SAINT JAMES’ USPS stamp designs include the first Kwanzaa Commemorative Stamp in 1997 (a total of 318 million stamps were printed using her first design), and the 2016 Forever Kwanzaa Stamp celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Kwanzaa holiday. Her paintings grace the covers of over 75 books including the cover art for Terry McMillan’s book Waiting to Exhale and Iyanla Vanzant’s Acts of Faith. But few know that her artwork has been featured in several United States Embassies internationally through the Art in Embassies Program since the 1990’s.

The House of Seagram, Coca Cola USA, Maybelline, Essence Communications, National Coalition of 100 Black Men, Glendale Memorial Hospital, YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, Barnes and Nobles and AARP represent a mere sampling of her clients.

Her most celebrated collectors include Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Alice Walker, Glynn Turman, Brenda Russell, Regina Taylor, Charles Fuller and Jenifer Lewis. Awards created by Synthia SAINT JAMES include the “We See You Award”, the “Mosaic Woman Award”, and “The Lifetime Achievement Award” especially created for His Excellency Nelson Mandela from Africare in 2010.

In celebration of her 50th Anniversary as a Professional Visual Artist, Dr. Synthia SAINT JAMES is currently booking her 2019 tour. The tour will include interactive lectures, master classes, workshops, artist-in-residencies, commencement speeches, fine art exhibitions and fine art commissions.


“Synthia SAINT JAMES’ irrepressible enthusiasm and remarkably humble personality became the catalyst for an unforgettable commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday in Rocky, Mount, NC. She dramatically engaged the audience throughout her illuminating presentation and every person left inspired. Dr. SAINT JAMES’ speech still resonates like an arrow trembling in the target.”
Dr. W. Jason Miller, author of Origins of the Dream: Hughes’s Poetry and King’s Rhetoric

“Dr. Synthia SAINT JAMES is a genius in marrying art and higher education. Her insightful wisdom is surreal in its accuracy; yet, her authentic “mother wit” brings pragmatic instruction to her interactions with students and faculty. It is magical to witness her campus interactions and her final product on canvas.”
Rosalind Fuse-Hall, President, Bennett College

“Dr. Synthia SAINT JAMES has set the bar quite high as our first “Artist-in-Residence”…HSSU and the St. Louis community were not only captivated by the boldness, brilliance and stories behind her works, but her candor, wit and humility has left an indelible mark.”
Dr. Michelle McClure, Assistant Vice President Academic Affairs, Harris-Stowe State University

“Synthia SAINT JAMES was the perfect choice. Everyone left feeling uplifted by the experience.”
Amina Sanchez, Associate Director, Skirball Cultural Center

“Synthia SAINT JAMES is a tour de force. An artist, teacher, and a scholar whose ability to connect with people is truly amazing. Having the opportunity to host Dr. Synthia SAINT JAMES as the 2015 Eileen Friars Leader-in-Residence was such a treat.”
Dr. Renée T. White, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Simmons College


Partial List of Speaking Engagements

Alabama State University, Albany State University, Barnard College, Bennett College, California Arts Education Association, California State University Dominguez Hills, Cheyney University, Coppin State University, Dartmouth College, DePaul University, Duke University, First Peoples Fund, Fisk University, Harris-Stowe State University, HCA Healthcare Corporation, Hilton Hotels Corporate, International Reading Association, Japanese American Cultural Center, National Geographic Society, Natural History Museum Los Angeles, Neutrogena Corporation, North Carolina State University-Raleigh, Occidental College, Pepperdine University, Saint Augustine’s University, Saint Louis Art Museum, Simmons College, Skirball Cultural Center, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, University of the District of Columbia, University of Idaho, University of San Francisco, Washington State University, and Voorhees College.

SAINT JAMES unveils her latest Kwanzaa Forever Stamp for the United States Postal Service in Charleston, SC

Popular Speaking Topics/Workshops

  • Master Class with Synthia SAINT JAMES: A Painting Collaboration
  • The Life and Dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Inspired Paintings
  • The Art of Synthia SAINT JAMES: The African Diaspora
  • Living My Dream: The Business of Art Workshop
  • My Sheroes: Edmonia Lewis, Katherine Dunham & Lena Horne (The Arts & Civil Rights)
  • Writing & Illustrating Children’s Picture Books
  • The Healing Art of Synthia SAINT JAMES
  • Postage Stamp Design: Creating Your Own Stamp

Office: 323-993-5722

Carmela D. Smith, Publicist
Arts@Manhood Speaks.com