Lindsay Olson


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Lindsay Olson
About the author

I am a conceptual artist working with governmental agencies. I am currently partnering with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago making art about the waste water treatment process. From 2008 until early 2012 I was the artist in residence at my local police department. As a visiting artist with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, I create art about the waste water treatment process. I am fascinated by the science and engineering required to turn sewage in to clean water. Most people think of government as an abstract concept. I’m delving into this gritty business to learn about the biological, chemical and physical processes used to treat waste water and then create art that highlights this industry. A waste water treatment plant is a highly technical environment requiring the skill of many people. The biological and chemical sciences and engineering knowledge required to control the sewage treatment process and construct, operate and maintain the infrastructure is critically important. Blending creative expression with this expertise requires a careful choice of materials. Water is an intimate substance and for that reason I have chosen to work in textiles for this project. Scientist, engineers and trades people work side by side in the treatment plant and the materials reflect this diversity. The art is mounted on a workmanlike, heavy duty canvas and collaged with dress shirts, fine linen, silk, wool and denim. Because this is a governmental agency, the colors chosen lean toward red, white and blue. From 2008-2012 I worked with my local police department Illinois. As the Artist in Residence at the Oak Park Police Department I created conceptual drawings based on the challenges and tools of law enforcement from a citizen's perspective. The purpose of the work is to understand the challenges faced everyday by law enforcement professionals and to create work in support of the department. I want to share the drawings with other communities so citizens can understand and appreciate these hard working professionals and support their mission to serve and protect. I would welcome the opportunity to broaden the reach of my projects and become an arts ambassadors abroad.