about the artist.
Growing up in Pennsylvania, Betsy earned statewide recognition as a painter and ceramic artist leading to a full scholarship to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. While earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts, she received a scholarship from the Heinz endowment to study at the Yale Summer Program in Graphic Design in Brissago, Switzerland.
Following graduation she worked as a graphic designer for over a decade. As the owner and creative force behind the design studio known as A Design Garden, she created print campaigns, corporate identities, website designs, and museum, signage, and trade show exhibits. Inspired to produce more lasting work, she started designing landscapes as “outdoor learning environments” for local schools and private clients. Each of these environments includes a cohesive color palette, edible and low-water plants, natural structures, fountains, boulders, and ceramic murals and sculptures.
The scope and complexity of her public art continues to expand. Much of her current work incorporates the local human and natural history of San Diego County, where she works extensively with local historical societies and Native American tribes to ensure her artistic interpretations are accurate. Her work frequently spills into the landscape, where she includes native and lower plantings to compliment the art.
Where possible, Betsy involves volunteers from local communities, including students and their families. Influenced by the hands-on Reggio Emilia Approach to learning, she creates opportunities for children to work together with parents and teachers to participate in creating their outdoor environment. Volunteers are involved in the creative process by donating information and materials to support the theme and by participating in workshops in her studio and on-site.
Betsy is meticulous in her preparation and follow-through for each project. She prepares comprehensive budgets, makes presentations complete with photorealistic mock-ups of the finished project in place, organizes volunteer workshops, provides regular project updates, and oversees the final installation.
Betsy’s murals and sculptural installations are largely inspired by nature and the specific history of the community in which they are installed. Working with hand-sculpted tiles and found objects, she includes poems, historic information, and captions pressed into clay with antique letterpress letters or silk-screened as glazes onto tiles and glass. Her work is highly detailed, with many layers of words, imagery, and texture. The combination of all these artistic elements sets her work apart. It’s public art that’s meant to be touched and experienced by the public.