Don Desmett

Photo of Don Desmett
Donald Desmett
Part-time Instructor of Art
(269) 387-2545
(269) 387-2477
K1147 South Kohrman Hall, Mail Stop 5213
Mailing address: 
Gwen Frostic School of Art
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5213 USA
  • M.F.A., Sculpture, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • B.F.A., Sculpture, The University of Akron

Don Desmett is a part-time instructor of art and founding director of exhibitions for the Richmond Center for Visual Arts at Western Michigan University's Gwen Frostic School of Art. Don teaches the NYC Professional Outreach Program (NYPOP)course in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst entitled New York Professional Outreach Program. NYPOP is about making connections that lead to a career in the visual arts. The program brings university students to the work places of contemporary professionals in New York City. The experience encourages students to believe in the possibility of a career for themselves. On-site sessions examine contemporary aesthetics in concert with an insider's perspective on the current professional scene. The class seeks answers to the many practical questions that stem from a student's desire to become an artist, curator, art writer, and museum or gallery worker. 

Until his retirement in 2016, Don was Director of Exhibitions for the Richmond Center for Visual Arts. In 2005, he was a design consultant for SmithGroup (Detroit), working on functional design elements for WMU's RCVA. Desmett received his MFA in 1984 from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and has a BFA from The University in Akron. From 2000 to 2004 Desmett was Director of Collections and Exhibitions at The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. He also served as Director and Curator of The Tyler Galleries at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia (1990-98).  As an art academic, he has lectured widely, organized exhibitions of 19th century, modern and contemporary art, and has been a juror for numerous exhibitions and art competitions throughout the United States. 

Among Desmett's highlights, he is also the curator for The Richmond Center, and has organized major exhibitions for The Museum for Contemporary Art, Cleveland; The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., as well as numerous exhibitions at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art and Tyler School of Art.  Don has served on The National Leadership Grant Review Panel for The Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C., The Ohio Arts Council and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Visual Arts Review Panels, and a panel member for The Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums & The New England Museum Association.  Desmett has published numerous exhibition catalog essays, including Heroes Like Us?, Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Sculptural Concepts and Charismatic Abstraction, for the Richmond Center for Visual Arts, Arnold Mesches Painting History, for the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, The Price of Power for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Jerry Kearns Deep Cover: The Deadly Art of Illusion and Mike Glier: Garden Court for Temple University's Tyler School of Art. He has designed exhibition programs and exhibition publications that originated at the RCVA in service of the Frostic School of Art and regional community, and that will tour the United States over the next several years.