March, 2006


NC2MI&MI2NC was inspired by Betz’s research examining three “births” in 1926 that connect North Carolina to Michigan. In 1926, John Coltrane was born near Winston-Salem. The same year Jessie Hays sent Pete Sadler from Winston-Salem to Detroit to buy a bus. This purchase became the genesis for the first African-American owned transportation company in the U.S., the Safe Bus Company (later developed into the Winston-Salem Transit Authority). In addition, 1926 is also the year that the Union Train Station was built in Winston-Salem. This station still stands and is located across the street from Winston-Salem State University where Betz is employed. Betz fuses these histories and facts and poetically loads them into JEMA’s space and website for travel and contemplation.

As Betz explores the terrain and significance of these histories he also “mines” the music of John Coltrane. Betz’s video includes “Blue Trane” (10:42) and “Shifting Down” (10:41) both recorded in Detroit in 1958. His project “draws” connections and changes from 1926 to the present. NC2MI&MI2NC features commentary by Dr. Winston Bell, a Music Professor (retired) from WSSU, and poetry by WSSU student Marco Grooms. NC2MI&MI2NC ends with footage of Betz’s recent trip by air to Michigan and back.

Previously Betz has used travel as metaphor for learning and life in exhibitions such as 40/40 – an examination of his commute each day to and from work crossing the historical line that segregated Winston-Salem – HWY 52.

William Andrews discusses Betz’s work by stating, “It is Betz’s compulsion to unmask and document layers of truth...Betz (explores) the degrees of truth surrounding any historic event, explicating this idea by presenting levels of visual information which serve to heighten awareness of the perceptual difference between fact and truth.”
—William Andrews, Number Magazine, 1997

Scott Betz has exhibited his work nationally and internationally.
Some of his recent selected solo exhibitions include:
Monitor, Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina, 2005.
40/40, University of South Carolina Upstate, Spartanburg, South Carolina, 2005.
Selected Group Exhibitions include:
Halpert Biennial, Turchin Center for Visual Art, Boone, North Carolina, 2005.
World Council for the Arts 2nd Exhibition, Herbst International Exhibition Hall, San Francisco, California, 2005.



Whether it is viewed as romanticized adventure or intellectual challenge, the process of placing oneself in unfamiliar territory and repeatedly asking and answering the same question, “How can I best operate in this system?” is a constant strategy in my studio production. I am a seeker of harmony (or control freak) and here the trip is the destination, the path is unmapped, the vehicle is the monkey wrench and I design the postcards.

As a “poor performer” in high school, I was lucky to go to college and realize the potential and satisfaction that that institution offered in emotional and physical rush (I never really left, although I’m now on the other side of the desk). Previously, I thought this experience could only be manufactured through specific athletic adventure such as “mapping” all of my home county’s roads with my ten-speed—often in conjunction with self-prescribed teen pop song angst played at volume mark “11.”

I have since held the mirror up to geographic experiences living in France for a year, traveling some 22,000 miles one summer while painting views in 48 states and two Canadian provinces, and traveling to Morocco and visiting the ancient and ruined city of Volubilis. In these and other experiences, dotted lines on maps and gravel roads represented heightened degrees of both essence and mystery.

I have recently discovered and followed other dotted lines denoting other essences and mysteries not necessarily geographic. How can I best operate in this system?

Scott Betz

> View Exhibition Images and Video