Joan Peterson

Joan Peterson

The Joan Peterson Arts Scholar Program, sponsored by TCAP with support from her family, honors the life of Joan Ellen Kimes Peterson, a long-time and dedicated supporter of art education.

Joan was a frequent presenter at CAEA conferences and was a recipient of the Outstanding Visual Art Educator award as well as the Ruth Jansen Distinguished Visual Art Educator award. She led the way in the development of the national assessment for art teachers for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Lifetime Accomplishments

Joan Peterson was born in Fresno and grew up in towns in central and southern California. She graduated from Pomona College and earned her master’s in education at Harvard University.

Joan dedicated herself to the arts and education for over 45 years, working first in the classroom in the Reed Union School District, then as the founding director of the Fine Arts Curriculum Implementation Center. She later was employed at the statewide level, first for the Superintendent of public instruction and later at the J. Paul Getty Trust.

Joan continued her advocacy for arts education at WestEd—a San Francisco research and development agency—where she worked on national board certification for arts educators. For several years, she traveled the world to continue her efforts to implement teacher training and national certification.

Joan’s work in the 1980’s brought the four arts disciplines—dance, music, theatre and visual arts—together under the umbrella the Visual and Performing Arts. This was to form the basis for The California Arts Project, (TCAP) as one of the nine projects of the California Subject Matter Project network. Joan served for many years on the TCAP Advisory Board and was committed to the idea that professional development for teachers improves student learning.

Joan’s long career as an arts educator and advocate left a monumental legacy reaching beyond California. She passed away at her home on Mt. Tam on the 5th of March, 2006, surrounded by family and friends.