Over the past 50 years, thousands of students have passed through the halls of the Peck School of the Arts. They came in as aspiring painters and actors, dancers and filmmakers, designers and musicians, animators and conductors. They left with not just a diploma, but a new perspective on themselves and the world. Throughout the year, we will be highlighting some of our students – both past and present – and how their experiences at the Peck School shaped who they are as people and artists.
We celebrate all of our students and alumni, and invite them to join in the celebration of The Year of the Arts! To join our mailing list, or to let us know about what you are doing, please click here.
Read more stories about Peck School students, faculty and alumni here.
I’m excited about making original music and sharing it with the world. And I always have to get back and give thanks to my ancestors, my teachers, my friends and family. I always give thanks to those who pushed me.
I want to explore music that I not only enjoy listening to, but I also enjoy playing.
UWM puts a high premium on the unconventional, nothing bound by the traditions of the media industry, and taking a broad look at what we do as artists, how we contribute to the social world.
I will remember the soul and spirit of each cast and how much I have learned from other people's experiences, loves and flaws. The best part of theater is the people and the spirit.
In Milwaukee, when you contribute to the community, you feel like you make an impact. We’re committed to each other. Without collaboration, you don’t know what you’re missing, what you’re not achieving. Collaboration is not something new – it’s the only way to move forward.
Set goals and continue to pursue them even when times look dark.
The office door was always open, but you never went in. In my second semester, I was invited in to have coffee and sit down and talk with the instructors about art.
Coming to school – whatever your professional experience, whatever your age – it’s going to be a trial by fire. But you have the support of peers and faculty.
Her passion for video art remains strong after 35 years -- in her own words, 'You only live so long!'
The film program allowed you to learn all aspects of production. Without claiming one skill, you could learn absolutely everything. That was the biggest challenge, but also the biggest reward.
Don't rush through it. Take what you can, and take your time.
The community has a sense of ownership - they've seen us succeed and fail, they watched us grow up. That's an exciting part of the theater.
The thing that I was left with after I graduated was the hope that I could change the world for the better and make a difference.
I knew the theory program was fabulous, and once I got here it was even more outstanding. It gave me a good background that I've used my entire life.
You are responsible for your future. We give you the tools. You need to recognize that there is a moment to fly on your own.
One of his greatest joys is assisting students in not only creating what they have envisioned– but inspiring them to think of solutions, both technical and conceptual.
I feel like I’ve been given the tools here to be able to learn and analyze these issues, and through the Peck School I’ve learned how to portray this in my acting.
Milwaukee isn’t fueled by competition. Without a hierarchy, an artist can be a part of the essential conversation while working with the freedoms provided by space, time and ideal resources.
Nothing, with few exceptions, is perfect out of the gate. Be open to criticism, it makes you better.
My advice for young filmmakers is to break through whatever you think your barriers are. If film is something you want to pursue, whatever kind of film it is, then go for it.
My teachers completely shaped the way I look at music and approach the guitar. We were not made to be one-trick ponies; we really got the full gamut.
I still have those moments where I question myself. You just have to stick with it and do your thing. Create your own way.
You believed there were one million ways to tell a story, make a film, and students were encouraged to be open to all of them.
For me, nothing is just notes on paper; music can move you from one thematic place to another, and can do so even without a text.
That kind of support meant you weren’t just one in a sea – the faculty was investing in you.
Sometimes you get cut short of what you would achieve if you had just followed your instincts. Trust yourself. Do what you're interested in. Let it unfold.
People here have that Midwest work ethic. Artists in this community really do the work, and they really love to work hard to make it happen.
Although graduate school can be extremely taxing and stressful, it has been the best school experience that I have had. What I am loving is that I am pursuing something I am extremely passionate about while surrounded by colleagues who have the same passion, and together we support one another to thrive.
Young designers should really be aware that they are a commodity, and people are lucky to have you work for them.
Meeting all of the incredible and talented people, students and faculty members is the most valuable experience I could ever get from these two years. Here, at the Peck School of the Arts and generally speaking at UWM, I am impressed with the mutually considerate relationships and the approaches that teachers and students demonstrate toward each other.
I began to have words to voice what I was interested in. My work was the most developed film I had made. It was the first time I felt like a proper artist.
The scene is growing in the Milwaukee visual arts community – it’s really an exciting moment.
A member of UWM's community since 1970, Martin has taught poetry, creative writing, and music.
Learning music history, how to research, how to write and speak, how to construct a budget – these are all part of what I do to stay in business. School was the place to digest all of that, to learn how to succeed and fail.
If anyone had told me 10 years ago that I would be back in college in a Theatre degree program at this point in my life, I would probably have laughed out loud. But working with others who are as fascinated with how stage performances happen as I am has added a whole new dimension to my life. I may not be a traditional student, but I am certainly thrilled with my decision to become part of UWM's Theatre program at the Peck School of the Arts.
I want to help people whose voices aren’t represented in society. It’s giving them a voice through theatre while helping to heal wounds.
There's a huge audience for new music – music I believe in. Putting it together and making it accessible for a wide range of people – that's what turns me on.
From the very first day I was here, I was forming relationships with artists. I knew right away that I had made the right choice in where I was supposed to be.
Walking into this enormous space at Kenilworth where there was air – it had a different feel. It seeps into your approach to the work: time, space, air.
There's nothing better than waking up a student's passionate interest in something they've never thought about before, or never encountered, and then watching them become fluent in it.
Get involved in the art community you want to be a part of. Start hanging out at the galleries you like, but don’t just try to get your work shown. Be interested in what they are showing and they will start to develop an interest in you.
It’s amazing how teaching what I thought I knew redefined my work as an artist, how the teaching speaks to the art of acting and directing.
Working to accommodate all of the exciting new acts, projects and initiatives we do into the limited space we own has been a challenge, but it serves as a testament to the creative energy here at the Peck School.
There's such a generous spirit at UWM. It's amazing to see who it brings together and how. I met people I never would have met otherwise at UWM.