June Peterson has many roles in our community. She’s a fiber artist, a passionate environmentalist, and the widow of Governor Russell Peterson, Delaware’s governor from 1969 to 1973. She is also a 25-year Member of the Delaware Art Museum and an outspoken advocate for the arts.
“Arts are important to all our lives; people respond to art,” June said. “We need arts of all kinds, and we need kids to have it. They really respond to it, which is why it needs to be introduced early.”
On October 21, 1995, June Jenkins married Russell Peterson. For their 300-person reception, the couple couldn’t think of a more perfect setting than the Delaware Art Museum, where they could celebrate their marriage surrounded by art.
But June’s relationship with the Museum began long before her nuptials. She had already taken many Studio Art Classes, including metalsmithing and jewelry classes with Eleanor Nichols—where she fondly remembers making candlesticks.
After metalsmithing, June took painting classes with renowned Wilmington artist Ed Loper. She warmly recalls her time with Loper, whom she says had a very distinctive style, both “on the canvas and as an educator.”
“Ed would say, ‘Now put some pink paint right there, and some blue right there,’ and I would say ‘Ed, that’s not me! That’s you!’” June said.
Although June still cherishes her oil paintings from Loper’s classes, her true calling is fiber arts. June took Studio courses with Sheila Ashby, who taught fiber arts and creative embroidery at the Museum for a decade before moving back to England. Despite the distance, Sheila continued to teach June, encouraging her to try many new fiber arts styles.
Now June has her own fiber arts studio, where she creates intricate three-dimensional landscapes with yarn. She also loves to use lace to illustrate Delaware’s coastal areas, which her husband fought so hard to preserve and protect.
June’s long-term relationship with the Museum helped her find her artistic voice, and in return, she has been an outspoken voice for the Museum and the arts in Delaware. Her continuous support enables us to continue our important work in the community, and for that, we thank her.