Betty Ann Thomas-Calkins, a Newark Valley High School graduate, does not give up. First, she suffered a terrible accident in which she broke her back. Subsequently, she was afflicted with the incurable disease of Multiple Sclerosis. Doctors gave her no hope of living long or even walking and she certainly could no longer work outside the home. She had lots of idle time on her hands and decided to learn how to paint. She took a few private lessons, but the art teacher told her to find another hobby, as she would never be an artist! Still, nothing broke her determination. Now, 33 years later, she has furthered her artistic endeavors with courses at East Stroudsburg University (PA) and Penn State, Allentown (PA). She can walk again and has proven the doctors wrong in their prognosis of a short life.
She has become quite an accomplished artist in various mediums, favoring oils, acrylics, and watercolors. She depicts her subjects realistically, but with feeling, whether they are seascapes, landscapes, old vintage buildings, or animals. She has had many exhibitions including Fine Arts Society of the Southern Tier Galleries; Phelps Mansion; July Fest; En Plein Air Show, Owego; Tioga County Council on the Arts; Art Space Gallery; Broome County Arts Council Gallery; City Hall; A.V.R.E. Art Show; Ithaca Artist’s Market, Ithaca; Park Terrace UMC Good Friday Exhibits, Apalachin; MSAA Art Gallery; Riverwalk Fine Art Gallery. She has painted more than 340 pieces of artwork and has paintings in 49 of the 50 US states. She lives by the mottos: “Never be afraid to try something new” and “All I have and all that I am is by the Grace of God.”