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New director of Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College

Peter Nesbett has been named the next director of the Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College, according to Nora Demleitner, president of St. John’s College. Nesbett brings to the college a wealth of experience as an accomplished art historian and arts administrator. He most recently held the positions of executive director for the Washington Project for the Arts, a renowned organization for contemporary art in the capital, and a member of the curatorial team for Triple Candie, which ARTnews named one of 25 global trendsetters.

“Peter’s leadership is critical at an exciting time for the Mitchell Gallery, as we plan the reopening in early 2023 after a nearly three-year closure,” said President Demleitner. “I believe that Peter will cement the Mitchell Gallery as a destination that will feature major art exhibits that are intellectually stimulating and engaging for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the entire Annapolis community.”

The Moore College of Art & Design, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Seattle Art Museum, and other organizations have all employed Nesbett in the past. He has co-edited more than a dozen books and academic web articles in addition to curating more than 100 exhibitions both domestically and abroad. Nesbett specializes in research-driven collaborative art methods, artist’s books and editions, and African American art. Jacob Lawrence, the first American artist of African origin whose work was purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for their permanent collection, received his training in Harlem in the 1930s, and he is one of the nation’s foremost experts on him.

“I believe in art as a dynamic tool for rigorous, creative, philosophical inquiry,” says Nesbett. “I am excited to bring that vision to the Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College.”

The Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Gallery, housed in Mellon Hall on the St. John’s College campus, is a jewel in the old city of Annapolis, Maryland. The gallery organizes a variety of exhibitions and programs each year and routinely receives more than 10,000 visitors a year. Most activities and all exhibitions are free and available to the public. The Mitchell Gallery is currently hosting online programming — an exhibition of Berenice Abbott’s Route 1 photographs (1954) opens in October — while it prepares to reopen to the public in early 2023. Upcoming exhibitions in 2023 include prints by American artist Rockwell Kent and selections from the collection of art collector Alitash Kebede, including works by Elizabeth Catlett, Sam Gilliam, Al Loving, Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, Emilio Sanchez, Kehinde Wiley, and other artists in a range of media, including drawing, prints, and paintings.

A full season of talks and discussions with curators and collectors, practical creative workshops, and reciprocal membership benefits at more than 1,000 museums are all available to the community when they join the Mitchell Gallery. This is made possible by the North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) program.

About St. John’s College
St. John’s College is known as one of the country’s premier liberal arts colleges due to its distinctive Great Books curriculum. At St. John’s, undergraduate and graduate students read more than 200 of the greatest books ever written across dozens of subjects and discuss those books with faculty in small, seminar-style classes. Located on two campuses in two historic state capitals — Annapolis, Maryland, and Santa Fe, New Mexico — St. John’s is the third oldest college in the United States and has been hailed as the “most contrarian college in America” by The New York Times, as the “most rigorous college in America” by Forbes, and as the “most forward-thinking, future-proof college in America” by Quartz. Learn more at

St. John’s College
Mitchell Gallery
60 College Ave
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
United States
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