BiographyBettye Olson was born January 16, 1923, in Minneapolis, MN. She earned her BS and MA degrees in Art Education from the University of Minnesota in 1945 and 1949, respectively. During the summer of 1946 she studied art at the University of New Mexico in Taos and in summer 1948, she attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.
Olson’s professional career started as an art teacher at the Summit School for Girls from 1945-47. She then became an instructor of art at the University of Minnesota, 1947-49. Later she was an artist in residence at the Holden Village Lutheran Retreat Center for many years starting in 1967 and ending in 1990. She was an instructor in painting and design at Concordia University, St. Pau, during the 1970s and 1980s. She also taught painting and printmaking during summer school at Augsburg College in Minneapolis throughout the 1980s. Most recently, she has taught at the Elder Learning Institute in Minneapolis from 1999-2006.
Olson has exhibited and lectured regionally, nationally, and internationally. She has had over 56 one-woman exhibitions and has been included in numerous juried and group shows. In 2006, the College of St. Catherine presented her art work in a 60-year retrospective exhibit. During 2012 and 2013, she exhibited at Hennepin History Museum in Minneapolis. She prefers oil, acrylic and watercolor for her paintings. Her works are in the permanent collections of many college, university, corporate and private institutions in the upper Midwest.
In Olson’s artist’s statement, she notes that she “is stimulated by images of nature and the environment.” She adds that “her work is more expressive-using brush stroke, color and texture-more painterly.” Finally, she sums up her art by saying “nature is her inspiration, source of energy and ideas.”
The three paintings by Olson in the Fine Arts Collection reflect the concepts articulated in her artist’s statement. The first painting acquired, “View of the Fjord,” was purchased by the College after her one-woman show at Luther in 1980. “Lillies” and “Midnight Sun” were donated to the college by the artist in 2008 in honor of the graduation from Luther of her granddaughter, Elise Moorhead. “Midnight Sun” was painted in Borlevag, Norway, at 12:15 am in 1990.
Source of BiographyWho’s Who in American Art. New Providence, NJ: Marquis Who’s Who, 2008 (selected to have an image of her art shown in the “Artists’ Gallery” section);
Who’s Who of American Women, 2004-2007