Who We Are
We pride ourselves on representing the highest caliber artists in the Midwest, providing unparalleled service to all clients and visitors, delivering the finest outcome on every project, ensuring an inspiring experience, and serving the art and business communities through education, volunteering and support.
Established in 1979, Olson-Larsen Galleries is a contemporary gallery representing over 60 professional Midwestern artists. We are a full-service gallery providing everything from initial assessment, proposals, and selection of art to conservation framing, delivery and installation, documentation, and appraisals on artwork sold. All services are rendered by an excellent in-house staff, educated and experienced in the arts.
We work with an array of businesses, assisting facilities personnel, art committees, and officially designated individuals with the selection of public and private collections. Our corporate clients include major corporations and health care organizations, such as EMC, Farm Bureau Financial Services, Kum & Go, MercyOne, Principal Financial Group, The Iowa Clinic, and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Olson-Larsen offers the same attention and quality services to individuals as to businesses. We offer homeowners on-site consultations, formal proposals, art out-on-approval, and delivery and installation. In addition, Olson-Larsen partners with architecture and interior design firms on both large and small projects for businesses and individuals.
Olson-Larsen’s commitment to the finest regional artists and exceptional service has deep roots. In 1970, the legendary Jan Shotwell opened Jan's Gallery in Historic Valley Junction, thus establishing one of the first galleries in central Iowa to promote local and regional artists. Her pioneering dedication made it possible for a full-service professional gallery to thrive. In 1979, Ann Larsen and Marlene Olson purchased Jan's Gallery, and renamed it Olson-Larsen Galleries. From 1984 to 2010, Marlene owned the gallery and continued to build on the reputation of representing the finest artists in the Midwest. Susan Watts purchased the gallery in 2010 after working as gallery manager for seven years.
As owner, Susan takes pride in customizing solutions for each client’s needs, coordinating corporate accounts and enjoys the nuances of working with residential clients. Susan encourages a collaborative atmosphere, approaching all aspects of the business with input from the gallery team. Susan’s love of art was fostered in a creative family and led to a BA with honors in art history and journalism from the University of Iowa. Her writing has been featured in regional and national art publications throughout her career. Susan spent four years with the Salt Lake Art Center in Salt Lake City before working as Olson-Larsen’s gallery manager from 2003 to 2010.
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After joining the Olson-Larsen Galleries team in 2017, Alyss became an invaluable member of the family with her passion for promoting our artists, curating provoking exhibitions, and sparking community engagement. Originally from New Mexico, Alyss received her BFA from New Mexico State University in 2010 and MA and MFA from the University of Iowa in 2012 and 2013 with concentrations in photography, art history, museum studies, and book arts. Her fine art photography work has been exhibited nationally and featured in multiple online publications.
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FRAME SHOP DIRECTOR
Mark’s experience, creativity, and penchant for problem solving make him an expert in his field. He uses his eye for design to create outcomes perfectly tailored to each client. In addition to working directly on framing projects, Mark manages framing supply orders, frame shop work flow, and strategizes ways to impart the importance of using archival framing materials. Mark has been a custom framer for over 25 years and is a skilled installation technician. Mark grew up in Lucas, Iowa, and holds a BA in commercial design from Simpson College.
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FRAME SHOP ASSISTANT
Brett received his BFA from Iowa State University where he studied studio arts. His arts education helped build a strong foundational understanding of a wide array of both two and three-dimensional media. Brett’s practical and conceptual experience allows him to approach each project with the specific care that is needed. Having spent nearly a decade working with wood, Brett has developed a keen eye for detail and a high level of craft. His quick thinking and problem solving skills will help execute any custom project you bring to us in the Frame Shop.
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A Day In The Life Of Olson-Larsen Galleries