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New Needs, New Techniques


Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

A quote from American painter Jackson Pollock sums up the philosophy of local artist/photographer Betsy Anderson’s in one phrase, “New needs; need new techniques.” Meeting the needs of her students, clients, her community, and her own creativity, is what Betsy is all about.

Originally from Massachusetts, Betsy credits her mother, first, for encouraging exploration and creative expression. In college, it was Professor William Fleming, author of Arts and Ideas, who introduced his classes to art through the ages and its influence on us today. Betsy earned a B.A. in English, a M.A. in Education and a M.S. in Library and Information Studies. Also, during this time she was fortunate to travel extensively throughout Europe, seeing firsthand the paintings, sculptures, architecture, and landscapes that have inspired artists, scientists, philosophers, and writers over the centuries.

Teaching English, photography, and screenwriting in middle and high school for 20 years provided Betsy with the opportunity to apply her vast education and experience to inspire her young students. She recounts, “As a teacher I never taught the same curriculum the same way two years in a row. I wanted my students to devote time acting out plays we were reading, filming screenplays they wrote or sharing slide shows of their photography.” Betsy’s daring individualist expanded beyond her teaching style. She challenged herself to learn new things, such as learning to fly a plane and joining the ski patrol while living in Colorado, organizing writers’ conferences where the public could meet authors and participate in workshops, and working as an assistant editor of a large New York publishing company in various aspects of young adult literature. Yes, in Betsy’s world, “New needs; need new techniques.”

Today, Betsy brings forward her experiences to create new awareness and expressions with her photography. She considers herself a landscape photographer with the great outdoors as her studio. She frames her images to “tell a story,” in an effort to transport viewers into a world they might have missed or overlooked. Her unique and personal perspective provides us with a chance to see the world around us in new ways. 

To facilitate that sense of awe, and provide her clients with the ability to share “art on the go,” Betsy has created a line of messenger bags displaying her nature photography. Each bag, one of a kind, is handmade by Betsy. They débuted at this year’s Hidden In The Hills Studio Tour, and will be available at the Arizona Sage Art Market, Dec. 2, 4-7 p.m. and Dec. 3, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Foothills Community Foundation/Holland Center/YMCA, 60th St., just south of Carefree Highway.

Betsy Anderson’s framed photograph can be seen at the Desert Foothills Library through Dec. 31 and at the El Pedregal Gallery managed by the Sonoran Arts League, in north Scottsdale. View Betsy’s photography and messenger bags, check on events, or purchase items at

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at