St. John’s College Announces Appointment of New Mitchell Gallery Director

Peter Nesbett brings experience, vision to Annapolis arts space

New Mitchell Gallery Director Peter Nesbett

ANNAPOLIS, MD [September 7, 2022] — St. John’s College President Nora Demleitner today announced the appointment of Peter Nesbett as the new director of the Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College. Nesbett brings to the college a vast background as an arts administrator and award-winning art historian. Most recently, he served as executive director for the Washington Project for the Arts, the venerable contemporary art organization in the nation’s capital, and as half the curatorial team behind Triple Candie, which was cited by ARTnews as one of 25 worldwide 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.”

Nesbett previously held positions at the Moore College of Art & Design, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and the Seattle Art Museum, among others. He has curated more than 100 exhibits across the country and internationally and co-edited more than a dozen books and scholarly web publications. Nesbett has a particular expertise in African American art, artist’s books and editions, and research-driven collaborative art practices. He is one of the country’s preeminent experts on Jacob Lawrence, who was trained in Harlem in the 1930s and was the first American artist of African descent to have work purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for their permanent collection.

“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.”

Located in Mellon Hall on the St. John’s College campus, the Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Gallery is a treasure in historic Annapolis, Maryland. The gallery, which regularly welcomes more than 10,000 visitors each year, hosts a diverse array of exhibitions and programs annually. All exhibitions and most programs are free and open 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.

Community members are invited to join the Mitchell Gallery and take advantage of a full season of lectures and discussions with curators and collectors, hands-on creative workshops, and reciprocal membership benefits at more than 1,000 museums through the North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) program.

For more information on current exhibits and programming, visit


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

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