Biography

Bio PhotoBill Batson is an artist, writer and activist. He has worked for non profits, labor unions and government in New York State as an organizer, writer and public relations specialist.

Since August 2011, he has contributed a weekly sketch and short essay for a column called Nyack Sketch Log for

NyackNewsAndViews.com.He is also a contributor to New York History Blog.

On May 10, 2012 Bill became the artist-in-residence at the year-round Nyack Chamber of Commerce’s Farmers’ Market.  You can visit Bill at his booth every Thursday from 8:00a – 2p at the municipal parking lot from May until November and at the Nyack Center, at Depew and South Broadway from December until May.

On June 16, 2012, Batson produced the world’s first “Flash Sketch Mob” in Nyack.

As a Trustee of the Historical Society of the Nyacks, Batson curated: African Americans in the Nyacks 1800- Present.

In 2015, he chaired Nyack Commemoration Committee, an effort that successfully established a Toni Morrison Society  “Bench by the Road” monument in memorial park.

In 2018, he directed the Nyack Record Shop Project, a community component of the Carrie Mae Weems exhibit at the Edward Hopper House that collected three dozen oral histories of the local African American community. 

In 1988, as the Art Coordinator for the New York City Housing Authority, he founded the
Harborview Arts Center, a fully equipped visual media training center that provides art
programming to support community and senior centers staff across the five boroughs. The year round arts program conducts staff development workshops, distributes art supplies to community centers, and organizes a Summer Art Camp with museum tours.

Bill’s writing has appeared in Essence Magazine, New York’s Amsterdam News, and The Argus in Cape Town, South Africa. While in South Africa, Bill received the Bertram’s Young Writer Award and won first place in the Sidelines Journal Student Essay competition. One of his essays, “In Africa Men Hold Hands” is included in a college text book written by Susan Ankara and published in 2003 by Bedford St. Martin’s.

Bill’s work as an artist has been profiled in New York Newsday (6/27/99), Daily Heights (6/16/05), Brooklyn Rail,(12/04/06), and The Journal News (2/26/05) and NyackNewsandViews (1/4/18).

Recent Press Coverage

February 22, 2019: New York History Blog, Nyack Record Shop Project

 

January 12, 2018: On the Record: Nyack Gives Voice to Its African American Community

January 4, 2018: Nyack People & Places: Bill Batson, Artist & Columnist

May 17, 2015: Nyack Set to Welcome Toni Morrison

November 29, 2014: New York History Blog, Exploring a Hudson River Village History 

November 18, 2014: USA Today, Bench to Honor Hesdra, Underground Railroad Conductor

May 1, 2014: Nyack News And Views, Nyack Village Board Creates Committee to Commemorate African American History

April 3, 2014: Journal News: Enterprising Success Stories

March, 2014: great digital tour of my Hopper Country show at the Edward Hopper House Arts Center: artsy.net

September 2013:  NyackNewsAndViews, Batson Receives Rockland County Executive Award

September  2013: Nyack Patch The Best of Nyack Sketch Log

September 2013:   NyackNewsAndViews. First Friday, Fiftieth Birthday at Nyack Village Hall

July  2013:  I was recently profiled by a precocious 14 year-old blogger Paulina.  You will be impressed by her journalistic chops.

May  2013: Welcome to Nyack, The Brooklyn Rail – Critical Perspectives on Arts, Politics and Culture

On March 24, 2013, Newday’s Elizabeth Daza profiled painter Victor Zaldivar, pianist Leann Mailly, Vincent Ear’s Tracy Kachtick-Anders and myself in an article, photo gallery and video about the connection between local history and  Nyack’s art scene.

On June 16, 2012, Bill organized a flash sketch mob in Nyack as part of the 7th Annual ARTWALK.  Over 100 artists participated in the creation of composite landscape portrait of the village.   On May 16, 2012, the Journal News covered the  Flash Sketch Mob concept. A slideshow of the artwork created can be seen on NyackNewsAndViews.Exhibitions. The Nyack Villager also recorded the event.

On June 26, Merle English of New York NewsDay wrote a column about my subway drawings.

Recent Exhibitions

One Person Shows

  • February, 2018, Edward Hopper House
  • September, 2017, Rockland Arts Center
  • July, 2017, Helen Hayes Hospital
  • November, 2015, Valley Cottage Library
  • December 2014, Nyack Library
  • March 2014, Hopper Country, Edward Hopper House Art Center.
  • December 2013, Gray Areas, The Corner Frame Shop
  • September 2013 The Best of Nyack Sketch Log, Nyack Village Hall
  • June 2013 Nyack Library, Farmers’ Market Artist in Residence Drawings
  • October 2012 Nyack Historical Society, Nyack: One Sketch at a Time
  • June 2012 Vincent’s Ear
  • May 2012 Art Café
  • December 2011 Hudson House
  • October 2011 Streamstudio

Public Art

  • June 2012 Produced Flash Sketch Mob
  • May 2015 Bench by the Road
  • June 2015 Flash Sketch Mob
  • January 2018 Nyack Record Shop Project

Group Shows

  • August 2016, Super Freak, Bell-ans Arts Center, Orange Town
  • August 2013 Nyack Library, First Friday
  • July 2013 Vincent’s Ear, First Friday
  • June 2013 Rockland Center for the Arts, Gay Pride
  • March 2013 Nyack Library, Pecha Kubra
  • March 2012, Thank You Mayor Jen, Nyack Village Hall

Curated Exhibits

  • 2018, Spoken History, 95 1/2 Main
  • 1989, Black Barbershops and Beauty Salons as Cultural Institutions, Al-jira, Newark, NJ honorable mention exhibition of the year Art in America
  • 1987 Bed-Stuy, Minor Injury Art Gallery, Brooklyn
  • 1986, Racial Histories of Brooklyn, Minor Injury
  • 1986, Up South, Brooklyn Arts Center
  • 1985, Lost History

Awards

  • 2013 Mary Grant Patron of the Arts Award presented by Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef.
  • 2013 Certificate of Recognition, The Town of Orangetown, February (2013)
  • 2005 Founder’s Day Lecturer, Nyack, New York 
  • 1995 Betram’s Young Writer Award – Student Life Magazine (South Africa)
  • 1995 Sidelines Journal Student Essay Competition – First Place – (South Africa)
  • 1993 New Youth Leaders – Boston Globe

Publications

  • NyackNewsAndViews, (weekly column since August, 2011)
  • Greenline, Greenpoint North Brooklyn Community News, Contributor (40 submission)
  • Amsterdam News, contributor (30 submissions)
  • Essence Magazine, contributor (“Brothers” column republished in college text book)
  • Real Essays, college textbook written by Susan Anker and published in 2003 by Bedford St. Martin’s,
  • Contributed “In Africa, Men Hold Hands,” originally published Essence Magazine, 1999

Volunteer Activities

  • Chair, Nyack Commemoration Steering Committee (2014)
  • Trustees, Historical Society of the Nyacks (2013-2014)
  • Member, Nyack Public Art Committee (2013-2014)
  • Member, Nyack Art Collective
  • Past Chair and Co-Founder, American Civil Rights Education Service
  • Member, Brooklyn Community Planning Board 8 (2004-2006)
  • Member, Global Citizens Circle (1990 – 2005) 

 

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