Scanga, a native of Calabria, Italy, was celebrated throughout the art world for his ebullient constructions and his fluency across the spectrum of art media. His creations in sculpture, painting, printmaking, glass and ceramics are in numerous museum collections, including The Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His major solo exhibitions have appeared in museums and galleries around the world, including the Museum of Fine Art in Boston and the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City.
A member of the UCSD Visual Arts Department since 1978, Scanga sustained an extraordinary level of achievement as an artist who exhibited widely, as a teacher and mentor, and as a community visionary. His former students include such artists as Bruce Naumann, Dan Faham, and Iza Lou.
Scanga received his BA and MFA in sculpture at Michigan State University. He taught at the University of Wisconsin, Rhode Island School of Design, Penn State, and the Tyler School of Art before a stint as a visiting professor at UCSD in 1976-77 led to a permanent faculty post.