By Trent Toone, Deseret News Published: August 19, 2015
A small group that included two LDS Church apostles and Brigham Young University administrators witnessed the unveiling of an original Greg Olsen painting at the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center on Wednesday during BYU Education Week.
The painting, titled “Treasures of Knowledge,” was commissioned by university supporters Leo and Annette Beus and donated to BYU. Annette Beus cut the string to show the 52-by-84-inch oil on canvas painting, which features two young adults reading in a room surrounded by books, globes, artwork, scientific instruments and other tools of learning.
Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles attended the unveiling, along with BYU President Kevin J. Worthen.
McKay Christensen, managing director for alumni relations at BYU, said the university is grateful for the gift.
“The painting represents so well what happens here at BYU,” Christensen said. “It tells the story of what happens to students and alumni … in their discovery of learning and faith. To have that represented in this strong visual way in the Hinckley Center, our alumni house, is really incredible.”
Olsen, an artist known for his paintings of Jesus Christ, said the painting is a metaphor for a journey of discovery.
“I hope this painting will be a reminder to those who see it that the world is a wonderful workshop of alchemy, where we can take simple, ordinary things and transform them through our own efforts and inspiration into treasures of knowledge,” said Olsen, who began working on the painting years ago.
Elder Ballard and Elder Andersen each spoke briefly, thanking the Beuses for their gift and complimenting Olsen on his work.
“The Lord has given you a gift and you’ve used it in such a beautiful way,” Elder Ballard said to Olsen.
“An example like this helps us see that everything does testify of the Savior,” Elder Andersen said. “Everything shows the magnificence of the gifts we’ve received. That’s not to feel shorted in the pre-mortal life, but to admire with great appreciation that someone could have that gift to create something so beautiful and memorable. That’s really the story of BYU.”
The painting will be on permanent display in the Hinckley Center and is open for public viewing.