Bettye Stull

Curatorial Consultant
Barnett Ambassadors

Bettye StullStull, a jewelry-maker who has exhibited her work, has been interested in art since grade school. (The unusual spelling of her first name came from a teacher who said she was too special to spell it the regular way.)  She went on to work as an arts specialist and later an administrative coordinator for the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department in 1956. She worked frequently with children, a subject that comes up often when she discusses her career.  In 1971, she married Robert Stull, a ceramic artist who would go on to become chairman of the Art Department at Ohio State University and later a dean. Stull credits her husband, who died in 1994, with providing her an entry into the wider art world.  Stull retired from Recreation and Parks in 1986 after 30 years. But she went back to work almost immediately, administering a youth program at Broad Street Presbyterian Church.  She went to work for the King Arts Complex when it opened in 1987, creating many educational and cultural programs.  Stull also had a hand in the creation of a permanent exhibit celebrating the history and culture of Mount Vernon Avenue, a center of black community life in the early to mid-20th century. It was home to her, too, and she can speak of personal acquaintances with people such as Elijah Pierce, the woodcarver with a national reputation.  In 2005, she curated "Columbus Collects," an exhibit of works from 12 collectors.  She is an expert on black artists and black history. Among the exhibits she has curated are "Roots and Legacies," featuring the work of 17 deceased Columbus artists (many of whom she knew) and "Echoes of Our Ancestors," featuring rising and established black artists.  Stull said what keeps her involved is her belief in the power of art to educate and motivate, particularly children.