Walter Matia was educated at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he earned degrees in Biology and Art Design. Much of his training was attained during a long apprenticeship in the Exhibits Department of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. After leaving the Cleveland Museum, Walter worked for 11 years with the Nature Conservancy, a national non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of endangered species and unique habitats. He served as the organization’s vice president in charge of land management.
He began casting bronze sculptures in 1980. Initially, he concentrated on bird life, but over the years he has worked on sporting dogs and other mammals. In 1987 he began a series of large fountain and garden pieces. In 1989 the Blair House Restoration Committee placed one of his fountains in the formal garden of the United States President’s Guest House. To complement the fountain, Walter produced a bronze wall frieze for the Blair House in 1992.
His works have been exhibited in one man shows at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Gilcrease Museum of Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2021 the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, Virginia, held an exhibition of 33 of his indoor and outdoor sculptures. He is a regular participant of the Society of Animal Artists; National Sculpture Society; Masters of the American West; Birds in Art and Western Visions. Walter is a Fellow of the National Sculpture Society, a Master Signature Member of the Society of Animal Artists and a Master Wildlife Artist of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.