Katy Betz ’00
Woodcrest Christian alumna and artist Katy Betz is using her gifts for God’s glory, teaching illustration at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver. She recently spoke at the Royal Legacy Gala sharing her passion for art and her inspiration to be a light in a dark and secular industry.
Katy can’t remember a time when she didn’t have a pencil in her hand doodling, drawing, scribbling, or coloring. It seems creating is in her DNA. “My dad is a cabinet maker and I remember him always sketching, whether it was a design for new kitchen cabinets or a treehouse that he built in our backyard,” she says fondly. Many an hour was spent in that very treehouse which Katy credits for spurring on her creativity and imagination.
Fast forward thirty years, and Katy is an accomplished artist and art instructor. After graduating Woodcrest Christian as a lifer in 2000, Katy went on to study Illustration at Laguna College of Art and Design and earned her Masters in Fine Arts at Cal State Fullerton. Along the way, she traveled extensively through Europe to study art, and returned to Italy to teach illustration for a few semesters. Her artwork has hung in multiple galleries, and she has been commissioned for large art installations in several venues throughout Southern California. Her love of whimsical art and storytelling has led to illustrating several books and magazines. She is currently writing and illustrating her own middle grade action/adventure novel.
Throughout her journey, Katy has recognized that her talents are a gift and a calling from the Lord. “Art is a powerful medium,” she explains. “We are influenced by art in various forms every day. Think about how many graphics you see from the social media feed to the billboards you drive by–art is everywhere. And it’s telling a story. I want the story of my art to reflect Jesus,” she says.
In 2011, Katy moved across the country to work at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida where she taught illustration. In 2018 she moved to Denver and currently teaches at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design. Her experiences at both colleges are reflective of the nature of the art world. “It’s a very secular and dark industry,” she says. “but I feel like the Lord has called me there to be a light.”
“While I can’t share my faith outright in the classroom,” Katy says, “I have been able to find ways to share Truth and to be a prayer warrior.” Katy regularly prayer walks her campus and has made it part of her routine to pray over every chair in her classroom at the start of each semester as she anticipates the students the Lord will bring to her class. “I meet with every student one-on-one and I’ve asked the Lord to help speak through me to say something to each student that He wants them to hear. There has been more than one instance where students have broken down in my meetings with them explaining that no one has ever affirmed them. The Lord has shown me that He is at work in an environment that is very lost and distant from Him.”
In September of 2023, Katy returned to Woodcrest Christian to share her experience at the artfully-themed Royal Legacy Gala. On stage, she mentioned the influence of Woodcrest Christian staff and weekly chapels that helped shape her faith. “I have a vivid memory of Mrs. Bickett, who was my softball coach at the time, catching my friends and I ditching practice,” Katy recalls.
“She didn’t get mad when she caught us. Instead, she said we needed to be women of integrity. That really struck me. I remember thinking, ‘Oh man, she’s right.’ She wasn’t upset at us, she just called us higher.” It was a lesson that Katy says influenced her from that moment forward in the choices she made at school, in college, and in the workplace.
Katy also remembers taking art classes with Mrs. Pounders. “I took every art class I could at Woodcrest Christian, and they were all with her. Her enthusiasm for art was contagious, and she allowed me to take a creative leadership role in her class where I felt like I was able to inspire others. She was so encouraging to me,” Katy says. “At my graduate solo art show at Cal State Fullerton where I got my Masters degree, I displayed a series of Christian- themed art called Transformation of the Heart. This was six years after high
school and who would show up to support me? Mrs. Pounders. She never stopped encouraging me. It meant a lot to me.”
Looking back on all the ways the Lord has guided her path, Katy says, “I’m so grateful for the upbringing I had.” Katy is a great example of a Woodcrest Christian alumna following the Lord’s call on her life, confidently sharing His story in the world of art.