Walt Peterson

Resident Artist

If product is the goal of industry, I think process is the most important element in Art and Arts Education. To get kids (and teachers, too) writing and dreaming and listening and being frustrated and meeting language-based experience is both exhilarating and humbling. It leads the participants to self-knowledge and knowledge of others in our society. I’d love to see an education milieu where one can spend as much time and money on the arts as, say, football. Now, that’s a subversive thought. The Arts can do that to you!

As a language arts teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, Walt Peterson was nominated to become an artist and writer in the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts program. He started his teaching/writing career in Teacher Corps in West Virginia and during his tenure with the PPS he became a Fellow of the National Writing Project through the University of Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project then an artist with the PCA. His teaching is grounded in the Writing Process, Writing Across the Curriculum and now the Common Core standards. His students, even before the National Writing Project experience, published their work on the classroom level and beyond. He has edited numerous anthologies for students both young and adult. This is true Experiential Education—learning by doing. Create situations where the students see themselves as writers, and the rest of our curriculum goals become infinitely more within reach.

His own writing merited the Acorn-Rukeyser Poetry Prize for In the Waiting Room of the Speedy Muffler King. He also won the Gribble Press Award for the short fiction collection Depth-of-Field about which the nationally-known fiction writer, Stuart Dybek comment, “I like them all. There’s a surprise in each (story) like the little metafiction move in “Music,” the way history enters memory in the last piece (“What He Remembers”), etc. And the sentence writing sings.”