Painting by Renowned Artist Peter Williams Goes Up for Auction to Support Scholarship for Kentucky Teachers

A plein-air painting by renowned artist Peter Williams is up for auction, with proceeds benefitting the Spalding MFA in Writing Kentucky Teachers Scholarship Fund. The scholarship helps teachers gain creative writing skills through study in the Spalding University brief-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program.

Williams donated “Peony Garden,” which features pink and white peonies against a background of trees, to support the scholarship. The auction, along with images of the 24” x 18” painting (29 ¼”  x 23 ¼” including frame), can be found at The link goes live on November 20, and the auction runs through November 29.

Program Director Sena Jeter Naslund explains the goal of the scholarship: “Leaders throughout our community are making a focused effort to increase the number of college graduates by 55,000 degrees. We believe that teachers with an MFA in Writing degree can multiply the number of degrees ultimately achieved, because they serve as both excellent teachers and models for the creative life. Good writers make good teachers.”

Williams painted “Peony Garden” during a garden party hosted by Spalding MFA alumna K. Shaver, at which the scholarship was announced. Williams describes himself as a “frantic impressionist.” He is best known for his equine art, painted from life at racetracks around the world. He has been artist-in-residence for nearly thirty years at Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Del Mar, Saratoga and Monmouth Park. His passion for horse racing led to a close friendship with bestselling mystery author Dick Francis and even to an introduction to the Queen of England.

Partial or full one-semester scholarships are awarded to Kentucky teachers at any level—kindergarten through graduate school—who teach in any area. Both merit and need are considered in awarding the scholarships. For those wishing to continue in the program, assistantships and other forms of financial support are available.

Scholarship recipients can choose to study in the spring or fall semesters, beginning with a residency in Louisville, or in the summer semester with an international residency. The summer 2013 residency will be held July 3-15 in Dublin and Galway, Ireland, with a special emphasis on playwriting and screenwriting, as well as the opportunity to study the writing of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and writing for children and young adults. The application deadline is February 1, 2013. Application information is available at Kentucky teachers admitted to the MFA
program are invited to apply for the scholarship. For more information, contact Katy Yocom at 502-873-4400.

Donations to the scholarship fund may be made by sending a check to Bobbie Rafferty, Chief Development Officer, Spalding University, 845 S. Third Street, Louisville, KY, 40203, or visiting

Rated a top-ten brief-residency MFA in Writing program nationwide, the Spalding program is the largest, first, and most comprehensive MFA in Writing in Kentucky. The faculty includes award-winning writers from around the country as well as such luminaries as Kentucky fiction writer Silas House and Kentucky Poet Laureate Maureen Morehead. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the program has graduated 382 writers who have published over 240 books. The program was founded by critically acclaimed, nationally bestselling author Sena Jeter Naslund and Karen Mann.