Johan Severtson is a professor in the Corcoran's undergraduate design department, which he has directed for almost 20 years. In addition, he operates an independent graphic design firm. Mr. Severtson grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, an adopted son of an immigrant Norwegian fishing family. After completing a BA in Fine Art at the University of Minnesota, he and his new bride travelled to Sierra Leone, West Africa, where they served in the Peace Corps. On return, he entered the MFA program in Art at the University of Chicago. After several years of college teaching in New England, he returned to graduate school to study Graphic Design. He has an MFA from Yale University.
Mr. Severtson participated in the first international invitational exhibition of computer-related art at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London; participated in Exhibitions in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), Museum of Modern Art; received a Ford Foundation grant to document and design a Kenneth Martin exhibition at the Yale University Center for British Art. He was instrumental in the creation of the Graphic Design Educators Society and has been active in AIGA, National Endowment for the Arts in Design, IDSA, and AIA. His work with the Corcoran has included curatorial work with Design exhibitions, and he is currently Co-Director of the Design Information Alliance—a non-profit organization established to locate and document information for design practice and research.