Prairie wildflower exhibit opens March 19
The delicate paintings by Illinois artist George Olson of prairie wildflowers and grasses, which have been admired worldwide at galleries and botanical institutions, will be seen during the next three months at the Swedish American Museum in Chicago.
Olson will attend the opening reception for his Museum exhibit, “Homage to the Tallgrass Prairie,” at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 19. Sixty of his acclaimed works in pencil and watercolor were published in “The Elemental Prairie” (University of Iowa Press, 2005).
“The work is composed like a piece of music or good writing,” Olson said of his showing at the Horticultural Society of New York. Viewers “appreciate the delicate detail of the plants, the textures depending on the time of year, the gesture created by the plant.”
From more familiar examples like milkweed and morning glory, to less known specimens such as spotted horsemint and hoary vervain, he finds that every prime tallgrass plant “expresses something about the prairie.”
A man who practices what he preaches through art, Olson has been involved in prairie restorations in two Illinois counties for more than 30 years. He also produces publications, workshops and slide lectures, and has held more than 80 solo exhibitions.
A graduate of Augustana College who has a master’s degree in fine art from the University of Iowa, Olson taught at the College of Wooster in Ohio from 1963 until his retirement in 2000. During leaves for research, he served as artist-in-residence at the Missouri Botanical Garden and made drawings of specimens in the Dixon Prairie Restoration at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
The Swedish American Museum will supplement the George Olson exhibition with two special programs: Friday, April 10, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Start with Art; Friday, April 24, 4 to 7 p.m., Family Night. The exhibit is scheduled to conclude Sunday, May 31.
Many more events are scheduled
Friday, March 13, 20 and 27, 7:30-10 p.m.: Three weekly basic techniques programs of Scandinavian Dances with Linda and Paul for beginners and advanced participants (Museum members $10 per class or $24 for three classes; non-members $15 or $36).
Saturday, March 14, 11 a.m.: Guided tour of the permanent exhibit, “A Dream of America: Swedish Immigration to Chicago”; reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org (Museum members free; non-member adults $4, seniors and students $3).
Sunday, March 15, 10-11 a.m.: Bullerbyn, a program of stories and songs for young children and adults who speak Swedish; email email@example.com for information and reservations (Museum members free, non-members $5).
Sunday, March 15, 4 p.m.: The art exhibit, “Streets, Blocks and Neighborhood,” closes.
Wednesday, March 18, 6-9 p.m.: The Museum will participate in the Field Museum’s Passport to Scandinavia promotion for the “Vikings” exhibit.
Friday, March 20, 11 a.m.-12 noon: Hejsan, a program for children with stories and crafts based on animals and nature in Sweden; the topic is “Birds” by Kevin Henkes (reservations suggested at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, March 21, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Museum-sponsored family program on the “Vikings” exhibit in the Crown Family PlayLab of the Field Museum.
Wednesday, March 25, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.: Vaffeldagen celebration of the Feast of Marie Bebadelsedagen (Annunciation Day) with Swedish waffles ($5 per serving).
Thursday, March 26, 2 p.m.: “Get Smart About Brain Health,” a seminar on steps to take care of one’s memory and mind, led by a physician from Great Lakes Clinical Trials.
Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m.-12 noon: Nordic Family Genealogy Center discussion of the book, “The Orphan Train,” led by advisory board member Sue Nordstrom; reservations requested at email@example.com (Genealogy Center members free, non-members $10).
Monday, March 30, through Thursday, April 2: Easter-themed activities for chi