Peter Schifrin: Fine Art Sculptor and Olympian
Peter Schifrin, School of Fine Art
Sculpture instructor and a member of the U.S. fencing team in the 1984 Olympics, commissioned “Birdman” which overlooks the river outside of the Art of the Olympians museum in Fort Myers, Florida. This museum features artwork created by former Olympians.
Some pieces traveled to London this Olympic season and had been on display throughout the Olympic Games. The Art of the Olympians exhibit has drawn thousands of visitors, say exhibit organizers. Schifrin is a representative of a long tradition of professional athletes who have fervently become master artists after retiring from active competition.
The Art of the Olympians museum is a two-year-old institution celebrating the creative talents of Olympians past and present. This collection also pays homage to an often-forgotten piece of Olympic history: Art was a competitive event in the early period of the Games, from 1912 to 1948.
Interest among the public was strong at first for art in the Games, but would later wane away. Unfortunately, due to the disqualification of professional artists and lack of worthy, world-class submissions, art was eventually cut from the Olympic competition completely. However, the Olympics and art have never fully parted ways.
Instructor Schifrin’s story is no different. As a young man, he received his undergrad degree from San Jose State and his master’s from Boston University while simultaneously pursuing Olympic dreams. His dreams came to fruition when he became a member of the American men’s fencing team at the 1984 Olympics. He continues to demonstrate the same passion and intensity today in his sculptures.
Schifrin has created numerous sculpture projects that were inspired by his Olympic experience; one is titled "J-Line," created by Duskin and Schifrin on commission from fellow Olympian Stephen Trevor. The project "Wings," one in a series of three sculptures that Schifrin created is also on commission from Trevor. The series, which Schifrin says was partly "inspired by my physical and mental quest toward the Olympics," will be installed in Martha's Vineyard next year.
As a School of Fine Art Sculpture
instructor at the Academy, Schifrin is yet another example of the diversity in spirit and character that the Academy has to offer students.