Phoenix art teacher is teaching more than his own students

Phoenix Middle School Art Teacher Hugh Petersen has a command of many mediums in his field — clay, paint, charcoal, fibers, pencil drawings…

But he also likes to dabble in another art form — the English language.

Phoenix Art Teacher Hugh Petersen

Hugh Petersen (Click for high-res image)

Petersen puts his pen to the paper (rather, his fingers on the keyboard) quite often to share his lesson plans with a nation-wide audience in the magazine, arts & activities.

To date, Petersen has had 17 of his art lesson plans published since he started contributing to the magazine in 1989.

“What got me started was during my first teaching job, when I was teaching grades 1 through 8, I had to come up with a lot of ideas,” Petersen said. “The library had this magazine, arts & activities, and it helped me out a lot, so I wanted to help out with something that helped me.”

The magazine regularly publishes lesson plans developed by teachers from across the country. The trade magazine is considered by many to be tops in its category, Petersen said.

Each lesson Petersen submits contains a thorough explanation of the project and how to create it, from start to finish. His latest published plan was about creating colorful chameleons using different colors, shapes and textures.

Hugh Petersen magazines

Some of the magazines Petersen has been published in.

“I get satisfaction in doing it,” Petersen said. “I like to share my ideas. It’s rewarding because art teachers from throughout the nation will call me or e-mail me asking about the lessons I’ve done, and they are able to share their ideas with me. It’s a good networking tool.”

Petersen’s published lessons have covered the gamut of materials, including print-making, clay, drawing, jewelry and more.

He focuses his lessons on projects he does in class with his students. That sometimes involves Petersen doing a project himself, then re-doing the project again so he can describe the steps along the way.

“I like writing, and I like creating art,” Petersen said. “I wouldn’t say one or the other is more difficult. (Writing) is different, but it’s still creating.”

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