Museum of Northern Arizona exterior


Alan Petersen

Curator of Fine Arts Alan Petersen worked on the South Rim of Grand Canyon for three years before moving to Flagstaff in 1980 to attend Northern Arizona University where he earned his BA/BFA and MA. Before his appointment as a faculty member at Coconino Community College in 1992, Petersen worked as a guide on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon and on the San Juan River in Utah. At Coconino Community College Petersen teaches art history, painting, and courses pertaining to the Colorado Plateau region. In 2005 he began his tenure as the Curator of Fine Arts at MNA. Peteresen created the Gunnar Widforss Catalogue Raisonné.

In addition to his research and curatorial work Alan Petersen is a painter. His own paintings have their source in the light, space and landforms of the Colorado Plateau, and explore the formal relationships between color and pictorial space.

In 2012 Petersen was awarded the Viola Award for Leadership for his role in establishing Flagstaff’s Arts and Science Agency Flagstaff Cultural Partners, his role in founding the Flagstaff Artist’s Coalition, and for his many contributions that have helped make Flagstaff a vibrant and culturally rich city.

Exhibitions curated by Alan Petersen

2013    Tony Foster – Watercolor Diaries from the American Southwest

2012    Arizona’s Pioneering Women Artists

2012    Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton: Artist and Advocate in Early Arizona

2012    Shadows on the Mesa – Artists of the Painted Desert and Beyond

2011    Photographic Journeys – Three Visions: Rick Braveheart, Jim Knipe, Prescott Lewis

2011    Full Measure – The Artistic Legacy of Bruce Aiken

2010    Peripheral Vision – Work by Artists-in-Residence David Politzer and Bremner Bendict

2010    Jake Brookins – Dreams: Realizations: Contemplations: Fantasies

2010    Ed Mell – Paintings of the New West,  with the Tucson Museum of Art

2009    Gunnar Widforss – Painter of the National Parks

2009    Natural Languages: The Art of Judy Tuwaletstiwa

2008    Painted Journeys on the Colorado Plateau – Work by Artists-in-Residence Judy Abbott, K.L. McKenna and Eva van Rijn

2008    Merrill Mahaffey: Interior Views of the American West, a Fifty Year Retrospective

2007    Elemental Forms: The Art of Dan and Arlo Namingha

2006    Everett Ruess and the Search for Beauty, Block Prints by Everett Ruess

2006    Timeless Excellence: Honoring MNA’s Fine Arts Collection

2006    The West of George Elbert Burr

2006    Passionate Vision: Joella Jean Mahoney a Fifty Year Retrospective

2005    Walking in Beauty, Work from the museum collection by Navajo artists

2005    A Sacred Life, Work from the museum collection by Hopi artists


Publications by Alan Petersen

2013    Letters from Gunnar. Sojourns, Summer 2013.

2013    Gunnar Widforss  – A Swedish Painter in the American West. Nordstjernan.

2012    Seen and Believed – How Artists Have Educated us to Appreciate the Landscape of the Colorado Plateau. Sojourns, Summer 2012.

2012    Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton Discovers the West. Plateau, Volume 7 No. 2.

2012    Gunnar Widforss: The Artist and the Myths. Proceedings of the Third Grand Canyon History Symposium.

2011    Full Measure – The Artistic Legacy of Bruce Aiken, exhibition catalog.

2011    Gunnar Widforss: Plein Air Painter. Plein Air Magazine, January 2011.

2010    Gunnar Widforss: Visions of Light. Fine Art Connoisseur, January 2010.

2009    Painted Journeys on the Colorado Plateau, exhibition catalog.

2008    Merrill Mahaffey: Interior Views of the American West, exhibition catalog and artist biography. Plateau, Volume 5 No. 1.

1999    Creating a Local Arts Agency for Flagstaff.

1996    A Cultural Action Plan for Flagstaff, Co-Author with Kate Sibley.