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Salon with Peter Nesbett, Washington Project for the Arts

Posted on Dec 5, 2017

Salon with Peter Nesbett, Washington Project for the Arts

Peter Nesbett, the Washington Project for the Arts (WPA)

December 16th
Free and open to the public

Artists & Makers Studios 2
12276 Wilkins Ave. Rockville, MD. 20852

Peter Nesbett – In and Of: Washington Project for the Arts and the Local Scene

For more than forty years, WPA has played a leading role in the District’s art scene, presenting experimental work by local artists in the context of contemporary art from elsewhere. Managing the balance between the local and non-local has long been one of the organization’s great challenges. Going totally local severs the organization from its founding ethos while an over-emphasis on imported talent can be misunderstood as a lack of faith in the local scene.

When WPA hired Peter Nesbett as its twelfth director in November 2015, it sent a clear signal that a dialogue between the two would be central to WPA’s future. In the early 2000s, Nesbett co-founded a Harlem-based alternative space that commissioned site-responsive work by artists living all over the world. He then went on to work as Deputy Director of Programs at the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, encouraging Philadelphia arts organizations to think ambitiously and imaginatively about new programming possibilities.

When he arrived in DC in 2015, Nesbett’s first priority was to interview more than a 100 local artists to gain an understanding of the city’s cultural landscape. The conversations were revealing (for example, few of the artists said they had chosen DC for cultural reasons) and he has since worked closely with WPA staff, the board, and the artists to chart a new strategic direction for the WPA.

This new, still-evolving vision puts artists’ interests front and center, but not necessarily in ways that one would expect. In this talk, Nesbett will discuss WPA’s past, the results of WPA’s ongoing research into the local art scene, and what he sees as the role for local artists in WPA’s future.

There will be time for Q & A for attendees and we encourage you to bring your business cards for networking and a snack to share.

Email Kristin at manager@artistsandmakersstudios.com