Sculptor/educator Olivia Beens, born in 1948 in the Netherlands of Czech and Dutch parents and lived in Portugal until age 7. After receiving a BFA from Pratt Institute in 1977 and an MFA from Hunter College in 1982 she moved to the Lower East Side of Manhattan where she still lives and works.
Olivia’s work has transformed over the years and clay has become her medium of choice. She works figuratively and abstractly exploring issues of identity, feminism, and spirituality. Her works range from small intimate pieces to installations and public artworks.
During the 1980’s she exhibited installation and performance work in many alternative art galleries including Franklin Furnace, ABC No Rio, PS 122 and was a member of artists groups such as Colab, PADD, and other political art groups. In 2014 and 2015 she was a (SPARC) Artist In Residence at Sirovich Senior Center and completed a series of ceramic murals that are permanently installed in the grand auditorium. She has taught through many arts organizations, worked for the New York City Department of Education, Brooklyn College and Pratt Institute. Beens has received commissions for public art works through Public Art for Public School and has been awarded a New York State Council on the Arts fellowship as well as residencies to the Mac Dowell colony for the Arts, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Hambidge Center and received a Fulbright-Hayes fellowship to Turkey, and traveled to India and Portugal with grants.