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Local artist Joseph Olson feature opens Friday at Averitt
Joseph Olson poses with his artwork in this undated photo. The local artist’s work will be featured in the Averitt Center for the Arts beginning Friday. - photo by Special
    The making of art has turned out to be a lifelong passion for Joseph Olson, who is a Professor Emeritus of Art at Georgia Southern University.
    Olson’s new artwork, which consists of over 45 paintings and prints created over the past year and a half, is featured and will open Friday at 7 p.m. in the Averitt Center for the Arts.    
    “The Averitt Center has been just great. I’ve had wonderful help in setting up the show,” said Olson. “It isn’t easy for an artist to hang his own show, but I’ve had tremendous help.”
    He said Sue Oliver, chair of the Averitt Center Art Committee, hung the show with help from Averitt employees Rachael Godbee, Hank Clay and Connie Hayes.
    Tim Chapman, executive director of the Averitt Center, was the main factor in implementing the show. He said his daughter, Nancy Tippins, came up from Ponte Vedra, Fla., to help pack up the paintings and assist with the hanging of the artwork. Not wanting to leave anyone out, he also wanted to thank his son, David, who converted Olson’s garage into his art studio; his son, Joe from Waco, Texas, who helped with much of the manual work required to create his prints; and most importantly his wife Mary Ann, a former art teacher at Statesboro High School, who helped give him an objective eye and kept him from getting too wrapped up in his own work.
    Drawing in his mother’s cookbook instead of doing math homework turned out to be the beginning of a budding career in art for Olson. He can remember as a child, making up stories about Buck Rogers and then illustrating them, much like a storyboard or a cartoon strip.
    During his career, Olson taught at several universities, ultimately teaching at GSU for 19 years before retiring.
    “Actually, I have not retired since art has always been a lifelong pursuit of mine. My working hours have been spent in the studio, sketching, then working up ideas for paintings and original prints,” said Olson. “My wife and I have traveled extensively to Europe, the Caribbean and other places of interest in the U.S. and Canada.”
    Olson draws from his life experiences to create his artwork.
    “Having come from Philadelphia, with its skyscrapers and large city avenues is quite a contrast to the rural living here in Statesboro. The combination of northern and southern living has contributed to my view of life and ways of working,” said Olson. “My work is developed from life, imagination and memory. I believe that the environment has played a leading role in my personal form of expression.”
    Wine and hors d’vores, sponsored by David’s business, University Imports, will be served on Friday. Olson’s exhibit runs through April 4th.

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