Anton Center announces new director

By: Dean Vaglia | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published April 19, 2024

 New Anton Art Center Executive Director Matt Matthews, left, stands with education & community engagement manager Peggy DiMercurio.

New Anton Art Center Executive Director Matt Matthews, left, stands with education & community engagement manager Peggy DiMercurio.

Photo by Dean Vaglia


MOUNT CLEMENS — The wait is over. Around four months after its prior director left, the Anton Art Center announced on April 5 that Matt Matthews was selected to serve as the new executive director.

“So far it’s been great,” Matthews said, about a week after he began the role on April 2. “(I’m) learning a lot and have a wonderful team to work with.”

Matthews comes to the Anton Art Center after spending the last five years as the associate director of Playworks Michigan, an organization that aims to increase physical activity opportunities for elementary school students.

“After college I worked at Northwest Missouri State University for several years, moved back to Michigan in 2010 and sort of fell into nonprofit work, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 14 years,” Matthews said.

The 14 years of nonprofit work was only part of what set him apart from other candidates for the role, according to Peggy DiMercurio, the Anton Art Center’s education & community engagement manager.

“His vibrancy, his energy, all the work he had done with other nonprofits and his ability to be able to transfer what he was doing right to the art center and really hit the ground running and be able to reach out to the community to help us build our presence even further,” DiMercurio said. “He was really looking for a place to call home that was mission-based, and the Anton Art Center is very mission-based.”

It is still early in Matthews’ tenure at the Anton Art Center and much of his time so far has been spent getting used to the center and learning the Mount Clemens community, but he plans to capitalize on opportunities once settled.

“There is so much opportunity for the art center to be a center and a hub of art and culture in Macomb County and in southeastern Michigan, and we’re excited to bring folks in some different ways and share this space in different ways with folks in the community that have not had an opportunity to experience the Anton Art Center,” Matthews said.

The first exhibition Matthews will open is the Macomb County Biennial Primary Student Show, which will showcase the works of Macomb County primary school students from April 27 to June 1.

Matthews took over the executive director position after Phil Gilchrist left for a similar opportunity at Advancing Macomb in December 2023. Gilchrist worked with the Anton Art Center for 14 years, serving as executive director for eight. DiMercurio served as the interim director while the center’s board of trustees searched for a new executive director.