Eastside Freedom Library, Panel Discussion with Essential Workers, November 2022

Here is the link to the panel discussion discussion, https://youtu.be/kGbQoXCoyDs

I am forever changed by this group discussion by essential workers who worked through the early days (and continue to work) of the Covid-19 pandemic, not knowing what it would do to the body, to families and our community. Their first hand stories aren’t easy to hear but necessary to keep us on top of the many problems facing workers everywhere. It’s not over and won’t be for awhile.

We must continue to raise our voices to advocate for everyone’s health as well as worker’s rights. A strong union is our best voice for the worker (wages, working conditions, health care). Covid-19 (and all its variations) is real and precautions must be taken to protect ourselves.

Get vaccinated, wear masks and distance ourselves. Protect each other. Be kind.

Eastside Freedom Library Exhibition/Zoom Chat Honoring Workers

The East Side Freedom Library invites you to the opening of ESSENTIAL WORKERS, an exhibit of visual art honoring Minnesota’s working people by Carolyn Olson, and a conversation between Carolyn Olson and Keith Christensen.

Register here to join this event on Zoom.

The pandemic has provided an opportunity to reconsider our culture’s awareness—and our personal awareness—of the workers who provide the services and goods which we depend upon to make our lives sustainable. Some workers, long disregarded, have been labeled “essential” and have been given new attention. Some have even received hazard pay (for a time) and new respect. But some have also spoken out about feeling “sacrificial,” and some have protested and even struck over their working conditions.

New awareness does not emerge spontaneously. Carolyn Sue Olson’s work opens our hearts and our minds through our eyes. Her work has been informed by a lifetime of painting and teaching art, a lifetime of building connections to community, and her care for her own children. Her daughter has worked in a grocery store during the pandemic, and her son has been a teacher. “Essential workers,” they have felt that complex combination of fear, on the one hand, and new recognition, on the other. These contradictory dynamics infuse the representations of workers in Carolyn’s portraits with both dignity and vulnerability. Looking at her paintings we can feel the energy.

For an exploration of this project, we invite you to join us for this conversation between Carolyn and ESFL’s good friend, artist-activist Keith Christensen. For the month of November, ESFL will host a dozen of Carolyn’s “Essential Workers” pastels. We invite you to come and see them in person. We ask that you let us know that you are coming—email info@eastsidefreedomlibrary.org or call 651-207-4926—and be prepared to wear a mask inside ESFL. (This request is for if you will come see the exhibit . The conversation event is on Zoom only – please use the link above to register.)

Free and open to all

Huge Studio Sale! August 20th, 11AM-4PM

Discounted price on art work created in last few years-including Essential Worker Portrait pastels and giclees, Swedish Princess Cake gouache, large murals and assorted smaller works in all media. Older oil on canvas as well!! Masks and vaccinations required.

236 W. Winona St. Duluth, MN

Essential Worker Portraits Book

Pleased to announce “Essential Worker Portraits” book is available
through Lizzard’s Art Gallery & Framing , Zenith Bookstore, AICHO Indigenous First Gift Shop and the Minnesota Historical Society Gift Shop
or email me email @  carolynsueolson@gmail.com
The book contains 100 pastels of essential workers
with a forward essay written by Peter Rachleff (Eastside Freedom Library).

Pastels were completed beginning in March 2020 through July 2021.
Books $40 (plus $5 shipping USA). Venmo or PayPal accepted.

Grandma’s Marathon 2022 Commemorative poster

Each year Grandma’s Marathon (Duluth, MN) choses one local artist to create a piece of art to commemorate this world wide marathon race. This year I am pleased to have been chosen as the Grandma’s Marathon commemorative poster artist! Thanks to Grandma’s for supporting their community of artists in such a grand way!
Posters will be available for sale soon.
To purchase poster go to the Grandma’s Marathon merchandise store online.

ART speaks


Pleased to be included in the upcoming exhibition ART speaks at the Minnesota History Center. Opening February 26, 2022, the exhibition features approximately 175 works of art from the permanent collection by over 100 artists. More than 50 of those artists are currently working and/or living in Minnesota today (see list).

A recording of the virtual gallery talk can be found here: https://youtu.be/rz8k4-Gfuy0

The exhibition continues through July 31, 2022. History Center hours are posted on our website: 

Due to COVID-19, no public events for this exhibition are planned at this time. We hope that a public event can be organized in the spring/summer toward the conclusion of the exhibition.

For information about the exhibition and the Minnesota History Center, please visit: