Site icon Bill Batson Arts


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Bill 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

In May, 2012 Bill became the artist-in-residence at the year-round Nyack Chamber of Commerce’s Farmers’ Market.  In December, 2020 he was named Market Manager.

You can visit Bill at his booth every Thursday, year-round from 8:00a – 2p at the municipal parking lot.

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 February 2019, Bill moderated a panel discussion at Rivertown Film Society in Nyack after a screening of the film Boom For Real: The Late Teen Years of Jean-Michel Basquait with the film’s director, Sara Driver and Basquait friend, the painter Brett De Palma.

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

May 28, 2021, Mount Moor Cemetery Restoration and Memorial Day, News 12

April 13, 2021, Piermont Remembers: Oral History Project Invites Residents, Patch

March 21, 2021, Masks On, Hats Off: Nyack Honors Volunteer Mask Makers, Rockland County Times

March 20, 2021, Nyack Mask Makers receive New York State Senate Commendation, Rockland Reports

November 11, 2020 Mount Moor Cemetery, WCBS

November 11, 2020 Mount Moor, Rockland’s Historic Black Cemetery, Honors Veterans.

July, 2020 Nyack activists to honor civil rights icon John Lewis’ life during street ceremony today

July, 2020, Nyack Fire Company Finds Artful Alternative to Annual Pig Roast

July, 2020, Upper Nyack: Empire Hook & Ladder poster celebrates history, heroes

May 2020, Nyack Mask Makers deliver 10,000th face mask to protect essential workers

April 2020 ArtsRock features Bill Batson and Donna Timm of Nyack Mask Makers interviewed by WQXR’s Elliott Forrest

April 2020, Two Local Artists Turn Mask Making Into “War-Time” Manufacturing Endeavor

February 2020 3 Honored By Rockland Legislature For Black History Month

August 2019, Gathering honors author Toni Morrison and her efforts to preserve African-American history

August 2019 Author Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate, remembered for honoring history in Nyack and beyond

June 2019, At Home In Nyack: The Art and Soul on the Hudson: Real Estate In Depth, Official Publication of the Hudson Gateway Association of Relators

March 21, 2019: Beauty gift set of Rockland products to benefit Center for Safety & Change, LoHud

February 5, 2019: Recalling Mandela’s Stage Role that Presaged Presidency

November 23, 2018: ‘Nyack Sketch Log,’ which chronicles village life, gets a second volume

September 7, 2018: Nyack Record Shop Project, LoHud

July 25, 2018: Hot summer, cool art: Warhol to ‘Popsicles’ to political

May, 2018: Nyack Famous Street Fair (Video)

June 4, 2018 Nyack Sketch Log: Bell-ans Exhibit Features Couples As Creative Collaborators

February 22, 2018: 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:

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.

Videos and podcasts

Nyack Mask Makers Bill Batson and Donna Timm receive New York State Senate Comendation from Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, March 20, 2021

Crossroads of Rockland History with Clare Sheridan, February 15, 2021

Mount Moor Cemetery, Nyack Library Armchair Tour, December 3, 2020

Mount Moor Cemetery Veteran’s Day, CBS News, November 11, 2020

One Good Story, Rockland Center for the Arts, February 11, 2020

Video of panel discussion with Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of ean Michel Basquait with Directon Sara Driver and artist and Brett De Palma, February 27, 2019

Video of full presentation of Writers at Work at St. Thomas Aquinas, February 22, 2018

Recent Exhibitions

One Person Shows

  • March, 2020 Grace Episcopal Church
  • February, 2020, Orangeburg Library
  • November, 2019, Arts Council of Rockland at the Rockland County Court House
  • 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 2018, Uprising: Art of the Subculture, Bell-ans
  • June 2018, Nyack Sketch Log: Bell-ans Exhibit Features Couples As Creative Collaborators
  • 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


  • Inductee, Rockland Civil Rights Hall of Fame
  • 2021 New York State Senate Commendation Award, presented by Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, 38th Senate District
  • 2021 Literary Artist Award, Arts Council of Rockland
  • December 2020 Hero of the Month, Gary’s Gutter Service
  • 2020 Distinguished Service Award, Rockland County Legislature
  • 2015 Recognition, Nyack branch NAACP
  • 2013 Mary Grant Patron of the Arts Award presented by Rockland County Executive.
  • 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


  • 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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