The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) named Sanjit Sethi as its 19th president in July 2019. Founded in 1886, MCAD is recognized nationally and internationally for its innovative approaches to art and design education and is Minnesota’s only four-year non-profit, independent, accredited college of art and design.
Sethi, an artist and academic, most recently served as the inaugural director of the George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. During his tenure at the Corcoran, Sethi oversaw the reincarnation of a historic art and design college at a major research university. Among his many accomplishments, Sethi moved the college across the traditional boundaries of higher education to invest in creative partnerships. Sethi launched several new degree programs including an MA in Interaction Design with both a public policy and social entrepreneurial track, and an MFA in Social Practices/Public Policy in collaboration with the Trachtenberg School for Public Policy. In addition to academic and programmatic stewardship at the Corcoran, Sethi worked closely with architects, contractors and GWU administrators on the $47.5 million renovation of the school’s historic Beaux-Arts Flagg Building.
Prior to the Corcoran, Sethi served in a variety of arts leadership positions, including Director of the MFA program at the Memphis College of Art; Director of the Center for Art and Public Life, Barclay Simpson Professor, and Chair of Community Arts at the California College of the Arts; and Executive Director of the Santa Fe Art Institute. Sethi has lectured widely on issues related to culture, creativity, and equity and has taught at institutions around the world. He has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships and in 2005 completed a Fulbright fellowship in Bangalore, India, working with local students on the Building Nomads Project, a collaborative endeavor focused on migrant construction workers and their families. Sethi received a BFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, an MFA from the University of Georgia, and he holds an MS in Advanced Visual Studies from MIT.
Throughout his career as an artist and a curator, Sethi’s work has spanned a range of media and geographies. He has dedicated himself to art and design education with the belief that innovation, diversity, and a global perspective are key to vibrant creative communities. He is committed to creative expression and problem solving in diverse settings and believes that artists have a vital role to play in societal issues. Sethi’s creative-based leadership is an extension of his studio practice¬—informed by passion, dedication, intuition and a hunger to know more about a certain field or community—and it is with this unique leadership style that he will guide and educate the next generation of cultural leaders at MCAD.
Sheryl Ash and Ben Tobin led this search with Carrie Alexander.