Betty Blayton-Taylor: Spiritual Artist, Spirited Educator

Here are two great stories about Betty Blayton-Taylor:


She has always said she was an artist; when she was four years old, she created murals along side the stairs in her home over and over. Her mother claimed she must have brought the wrong baby from the hospital.

When she chose to go to Syracuse University with its outstanding art school (after Pratt Institute turned her down), the state of Virginia had to pay her entire tuition for all four years – because Virginia had no black colleges with accredited arts programs.

How like Blayton to get a fine education in the arts while essentially taking advantage of the state’s misguided racism, designed to hold her back. What does she do next? She creates paintings and prints that are both metaphysical and richly colored, paintings and prints now in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Fisk University, Spelman College, Tougaloo College, and in many private collections.

And she uses her talents to help others create. A constant champion of arts programs, she helped design the Museum of Modern Art’s Children’s Art Carnival, in Harlem, which she ran from 1969 to 1998. She was also one of the founders of the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she served on the board from 1965 to 1975.

Her educational work has brought her recognition including the title of 1984 Empire State Woman of the Year in the Arts; she has also received the 1989 New York State Governor’s Art Award and the 1995 CBS Martin Luther King, Jr. Fulfilling the Dream Award, to name a few.


A gifted artist as well as a ground-breaking educator, she has this to say about her artwork:

“The themes of many of my paintings are directly related to my study of metaphysical laws, which govern the universe. These ideas relate to reincarnation and the possibility of lives lived between lives, the acceptance of spirit guides, the acceptance of the uses of one’s intuition and the possibility that this life is one of many lives lived here in Earth’s school, to teach us certain lessons. These are the things that I have pondered and still often ponder when I am working. I do not expect my viewers to know what I have in mind when I am creating a work, but I hope they will have a positive sensory response to the work, on a level that their own insights are stimulated.”



1 Forced center right-'36_Rd.-'75  copy
Forced Center Right (1975)
36” round, Oil & collage on canvas 




2 SpeakingNatures Way-Mono-30'x22_ mono-'89 copy
Speaking Nature’s Way (1989)
30” x 22”, Monoprint




3 Blayton_Shapes _Of_ Sound copy
Shapes Of Sound (2011)
Size 5’ x 6’, Acrylic and collage on canvas




4 Consciousness_Traveling
Consciousness Traveling (2012)
58” round, Acrylic on canvas




5 Big band sound
Big Band Sound (2015)
24” x 30”, Acrylic and collage on canvas




6 Bluesette
Bluesette (2015)
12” round, concept study, Acrylic and collage on canvas




7 Flutist landscape
Flutist Landscape (2015)
36 “ round, Acrylic and collage on canvas




8 Smooth Jazz, CS copy
Smooth Jazz (2015)
12” round, concept study, Acrylic and collage on canvas




9 Smooth sounds 24_x30
Smooth Sounds (2015)
24” x 30”, Acrylic & collage on canvas





  1. I met Betty Blayton-Taylor perhaps three years ago. Her work is awe-inspiring. The concepts, the theory, the depth of her spirituality is beyond me. I’ve collected some of her work that speaks to me in way that I only hope to truly understand better as I grow as a person. In the time that I’ve know Betty, I documented her through the lens (still & motion) as a photographer. She is such an astute educator and so articulate in the message she disseminates through her art and verbal presentation.

    The thought never fails to come to mind when I see young artists in the thralls of their development a quote I heard from Betty, “It’s through self-reflective thinking, which the art provides that gives your child an opportunity to know who he or she might become.”

    What a great contribution you continuously bring to the world of fine art and education.

  2. appreciate your work and what you say about your creativity and process. I search and am open to spirit guides and re incarnation. I especially like the round ones. very beautifull all. thank you.

  3. We consider ourselves blessed to be counted among Betty’s collectors, to have visited her studio, and to have sat and talked with her. Betty and others may see her art differently than we do, but in her art we see a call to personal peace and centeredness. Betty’s images don’t demand that we “stand back.” Her abstractions draw us in to contemplate, much as we might if standing in a tranquil natural setting.

  4. Betty is a truly gifted artist, whose work is inspired & inspiring. Through art, she speaks of truths seen & unseen, heard & unheard, known & unknown. She delves into the spiritual, metaphysical, & metacognitive reality of human experience with ease, and tranquility, shaping a narrative for those who would dare to see.

  5. This is a wonderful overview of an artist, educator and community builder. Betty Blayton-Taylor has been creating art and institution building for over forty years. Betty “keep your hand on the plow”.

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