18 Sep WSU fine arts professor named state’s young arts leader
By Adriana Aumen, College of Arts and Sciences
RICHLAND, Wash. – Peter Christenson, assistant professor of fine arts at Washington State University Tri-Cities, has received the Governor’s Arts & Heritage Young Arts Leader Award from the Washington State Arts Commission.
Christenson is a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker. He co-founded Left of Centre, an artist collective and guerrilla-marketing firm, and has been the catalyst behind Null Set, a locally produced interventionist magazine and collaborative organization in the Tri-Cities.
He also initiated the Guest House Cultural Capital Residency, a short-term residency program that invites scholars and creatives from across the globe to Richland.
At WSU, Christenson teaches in support of the fine arts and digital technology and culture programs with a pedagogy and research agenda focused on multidisciplinary, new media and social art practices.
“This award is particularly meaningful for me as an artist and scholar committed to culture-building and community-based development across the state,” Christenson said. “I’m very honored and grateful to the Arts Commission and Governor Inslee, and feel so indebted to the communities whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with here in Washington.”
Christenson is a recent recipient of a US–UK Fulbright Scholar Award in Art & Design. His current practice is rooted in new media and video, collective campaigning and protest, performance, psychosocial and interventionist art, and site-specific installation. His research is significantly informed by his previous experiences as a social worker and licensed psychotherapist.
“Peter continues to build a reputation as a practicing artist in the Northwest, across the country and around the world,” said Squeak Meisel, chair of fine arts at WSU. “It is nice to know that the state of Washington values his contribution to the cultural landscape. His research is a model for how all students can choose to be innovative in their approaches to making and having a career as an artist. I look forward to what he does next!”
Originally from Metro Detroit, Christenson holds bachelor of arts and master of social work degrees from the University of Michigan and a master of fine arts degree in intermedia from Arizona State University.
Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) is a state government agency established in 1961. Among its various activities is advocating for the public value of the arts; building leadership in and for the arts; strengthening arts education in Washington public schools; documenting the impact of and building community participation in the arts; and acquiring and caring for artwork in the State Art Collection at K-12 public schools, colleges, universities, and state agencies.
Other ArtsWA programs include Art in Public Places, Arts in Education, Poetry Out Loud, and Washington Poet Laureate.