DAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: Betty Blayton-Taylor – Painter

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Virginia

Betty Blayton-Taylor was born July 10, 1937, in Newport News, Virginia. Although her family lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, Betty was delivered 35 miles away in Newport News because Whittaker Hospital was the only hospital in the immediate area to accept Black patients. Early on, young Betty would refer to herself as an artist, laying the foundation for her future career.

Education

Blayton enrolled in Burton Heights Public School and remained there until the seventh grade. She began her eighth-grade year at Palmer Memorial Institute, a private school in Sedalia, North Carolina. She refined her natural artistic talent at the Brooklyn Museum School, the Art Students League, and Syracuse University. She attempted to attend Pratt Institute but was rejected.
Since there were no Black colleges with an accredited art program, the state of Virginia was required to pay Blayton’s entire tuition. She attended Syracuse University free of charge. There, she double majored in Art–the obvious choice for her since she was a self-proclaimed artist from the age of four–and Illustration. Blayton graduated in 1959 with her BFA and honors.
Betty Blayton-Taylor, Black artist, Black artists, Black art, Blackness, Black woman, Black painter, DDH: Daily Dose of History

Career

Not too long after graduating college, Blayton co-founded the Studio Museum in Harlem and served on the board from 1965 to 1977. During that time, she began working as a consultant for the Board of Education for the City of New York, helping implement an art education curricula. She held that position from 1968 to 1994.
In 1969, Blayton helped establish the Children’s Art Carnival in Harlem alongside Victor D’Amico (Director of the Department of Education at the Museum of Modern Art). She served on the executive board from 1969 to 1998. As a child, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a student of the Children’s Art Carnival.

Legacy

Throughout her lifetime, Blayton created brilliant works of art that were displayed in various galleries. She continued working within the art world until she died. Betty Blayton-Taylor died October 2, 2016, in the Bronx. Today, her work is still highly praised. In June 2017, her work was displayed in an exhibit, titled Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today.
Betty Blayton-Taylor, Black artist, Black artists, Black art, Blackness, Black woman, Black painter, DDH: Daily Dose of History
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer (Nikodemus Mwandishi) or We Buy Black. Thank you.**
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