As the creator of downtown Tacoma’s 24-foot-high traditional Welcome Figure, artist Shaun Peterson has created pieces of art that are currently on display in public collections around the world. And with the announcement of the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s (GTCF) selection of Peterson as the 6th Annual Foundation of Art award recipient, he was chosen to create a commissioned piece for a two-month art show this fall at Fulcrum Gallery. A committee of local artists nominated 13 talented Pierce County artists, and chose Peterson as the winner of the $7,500 award.
The Puyallup Tribal member chose to pursue art after high school, and trained as an apprentice carving Native American woodwork. “Shaun has played an important role in the revival of Coast Salish art traditions,” GTCF President and CEO Rose Lincoln Hamilton said in a statement. “He provides a bridge between the past and the future. As skilled in traditional design and techniques as he is in the latest new media, Shaun brings his work to life for many generations to share.”
Peterson places a strong emphasis on education, breaking down barriers and common misconceptions about Native American artists. “There seems to be an expectation out there that a Native artist must live in the past and create art in the old ways,” he said. “But our culture has changed just like the rest of the world.”
Peterson is honored to be recognized for his work overall, and looks forward to unveiling his piece during the Foundation of Art exhibit this fall. “It’s a great feeling to have recognition in one’s community,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve longed for since my early start and I am happy to receive this recognition from peers. Making art is often a place of solitude so to feel a sense of appreciation helps address the time and effort that goes into the creative process.”
For more information about the artist or to view his work, visit http://www.gtcf.org/2013-gallery.
Letter to the Editor
If you would like to contact us directly, please submit a Letter to the Editor here.