Artist Portrait: Betsy Wilson-Mahoney

Paint brushes are kept in cups in Wilson-Mahoney's studio. She paints cityscapes, portraits and murals.

If it’s related to the arts and happening in Aiken, Betsy Wilson-Mahoney is probably part of it.


Not only is she a multiple award-winning actress and singer on the Aiken stage, but she’s been a visual artist most of her life and has published two books.

“Art is what I’ve always done,” said Wilson-Mahoney, who most recently performed in Aiken Community Playhouse’s production of Hairspray, and owns a gallery in downtown Aiken on Hayne Avenue.

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she worked in textile arts for seven years and opened her business, The Studio: Where Art Happens, about 12 years ago.

In addition to painting portraits and cityscapes, Wilson-Mahoney is an accomplished mural painter. She started doing murals about 21 years ago.

“It was so fashionable,” she said. “Sometimes, I’d do five a week. A lot of it was more like decorative painting. I can’t tell you how many miles of vines I painted at University Hospital.”

Now, her mural work is more intricate.

“The quality went up. It’s high-end,” she said.

Wilson-Mahoney has also used her brush to create two books. The first was The Aiken Book: A Watercolor Tour, which is a coffee table book of prints with verbiage by her daughter, Lizzie Mahoney.

The second, which she created with Michael Gibbons, is called When I Think of Aiken: Reflections of Two of Her Children.

“It features 30 topics,” she said. “Mike wrote his story, and I painted mine.”