mno-buttonaha1Bettye Olson’s studio in the Dow Building evinces a life lived in the arts. Every corner of the space seems to represent a different medium, series or time period while always being distinctly of her hand. An expressionist painter, Olson works with natural imagery depicting flowers, streams, oceans or entire landscapes with bold brush strokes and vibrant colors that intermittently reverse the typical theory applied to complementary contrasting hues. She most frequently works in oil, acrylic or watercolor, but has also integrated pastels and printmaking techniques into her body of work as well.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota in 1945, Olson also studied under pioneer modernist Jo Lutz Rollins at the Stillwater Art Colony as well as at the University of New Mexico in Taos and the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Olson rejected the idea that one must choose between being a career artist and having a family, a common thought at the time, and became one of the founding members of the West Lake Gallery.

Olson has exhibited and lectured extensively and has had over 45 one-woman exhibitions plus juried and group shows. Her works are represented in many permanent collections including: Walker Art Center, the Weisman Museum, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Smaland Museum of Sweden and the Kuopio Art Museum of Finland.

Special Thanks
Ann Buchen
The Dow Building
Tom Moffatt
Silverwood Park
St. Catherine University Art + Art History

Minnesota Music in this Segment:
Michael Billét
“River Song”

Nicola Melville
“Appalachian Breakdown”