Spirit Form - Bronze at Freedom Corner
Freedom Corner - Spirit Form
Freedom Corner - Detail
Freedom Corner - Stone of Origin
Freedom Corner - Prayer Circle
Freedom Corner - Freedom Marcher's Ring
Freedom Corner - Negative Ring - Birmingham
James McCoy, Frankie Pace and the Lower Hill - Proposed Kiosk
Clark at Elm Street 1957
Nomads in a Caravan
In My Sanctuary
Mother and the URA
53 1/2 Crawford Street
Lee's Floral Shop
At Freedom Corner
The Spirit Form
I designed Pittsburgh’s Freedom Corner Monument and sculpted the iconic art gracing it. My art style is social realism, not by choice, but a cultural need, born from the destruction of Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District. While I address the loss and its aftermath, my artwork is a means of expression, not a factual portrayal of the Hill District as such.
I moved from the Hill in 1970, but a few years later, recovered from a near-fatal bicycle accident on Bedford Avenue, retreated to the Hill. Overlooking the Civic Arena from Bedford Avenue with the thought of death on my mind and a sketchbook in hand, I thought about that key societal event of the mid-‘50s, that for the sake of one civic auditorium, uprooted 8000 mostly black families from the Lower Hill that included my own. With the Crawford Street neighborhood already in the throes of demolition and years of calculated neglect showing at every corner of Centre Avenue, I too felt disregarded, as our black history tends to be.
Collectively my artwork is a personal diary meant to overcome that tone of thought. As if handwriting my history through remnants of the Hill District, my viewpoints are intuitive. Drawing with ink or ballpoint pen, I become the conscious adult telling about my childhood. Deserted structures reflect abandonment and neglect. Sinuous architectural forms infer vulnerability and the nomadic lifestyle. At times, community-focused, I document the context of place. At other times, obsessed with familial experiences, I sculpt instinctive impressions. Using collected objects together with photographs and factual text, I create paragraphical landscapes that verify time and place. Either way, hands-on, particularly the act of drawing, is vital to my process for overcoming regret.
Knowing my artwork recounts my emotions concerning a definite place—the feeling is indefinable. Embraced as tangible evidence, I see my history and culture.
Now retired, Mr. Peterson is best known for designing Pittsburgh’s Freedom Corner Monument and sculpting the iconic art that graces it. Before starting his own firm, Carlos F. Peterson Technical Art, Mr. Peterson was an architectural draftsman and award-winning illustrator in the steel engineering industry. In addition to national awards for technical art, he has won juror’s awards in numerous exhibitions throughout Pittsburgh and received purchase awards at the African American National Art Exhibition in Atlanta Georgia.