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 inspired by 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, having recovered from a near-fatal cycling accident on Bedford Avenue, retreated to the Hill with a camera and sketchbook in hand. Overlooking the Civic Arena from Crawford Street, I thought about the destruction of the Lower Hill, that key societal event of the mid-‘50s, all for the sake of one civic auditorium, uprooted 8000 mostly black families, including my own. With Crawford Street already in the throes of demolition and many years of calculated neglect showing at every corner, 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 and restore my sense of place. As if handwriting my history through remnants of the Hill District, 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 social context of place, yet at other times, sculpt familial impressions rooted from personal experience. Collected objects, together with photographs and factual text, become paragraphical landscapes that verify time and place.
Holding a photograph or finished drawing and acknowledging it as a statement of my emotions—the feeling is indefinable. My artwork grounds my sense of identity and as tangible evidence, recognizes our 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.