Rhode Island School of Design: Wikis


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Rhode Island School of Design
Established 1877
Type Private
Endowment $473.8 million[1]
President John Maeda
Faculty 146 full-ti 336 part-time
Students 2,282
Undergraduates 1,883
Postgraduates 399
Location Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Campus Urban
13 acres (53,000 )
Mascot unnoficial mascot "Scrotie," is a giant phallus with testicles that wears a cape
Website risd.edu

The Rhode Island School of Design (abbreviated RISD, pronounced /ˈrɪzdi/) is a fine arts and design college located in Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1877. Located at the base of College Hill, the RISD campus is contiguous with the Brown University campus. The two institutions share social, academic, and community resources and offer joint courses. Applicants are required to complete RISD's infamous three-drawing "hometest", one of which involves the trademark RISD bicycle drawing. The school consistently ranks as the number one fine arts college in the United States.

The school includes about 350 faculty and curators, and 400 staff members. About 1,880 undergraduates and 370 graduate students enroll from all over the United States and 50 other countries. It offers 16 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate majors. RISD is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), a consortium of thirty-six leading art schools in the United States. It also maintains over 80,000 works of art in the RISD Museum.

RISD has an acceptance rate of 19% as of 2010.



The Centennial Women were a group formed to raise funds for Rhode Island's exhibit at the Centennial Exposition in 1876. The group had $1,675 left over after the exposition, and, inspired by foreign exhibits on design and interior decorating, Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf persuaded the group to donate the money to found what would become the Rhode Island School of Design. The school was incorporated in 1877 and opened its doors the following fall. Metcalf directed the school until her death in 1895. Her daughter, Eliza Greene Metcalf Radeke, then took over until her death in 1931.[2]

The Rhode Island General Assembly ratified “An Act to Incorporate the Rhode Island School of Design” on March 22, 1877. “For the purpose of aiding in the cultivation of the arts of design.” Over the next 129 years, the following original by-laws set forth these following primary objectives:

First. The instruction of artisans in drawing, painting, modeling, and designing, that they may successfully apply the principles of Art to the requirements of trade and manufacture.
Second. The systematic training of students in the practice of Art, in order that they may understand its principles, give instruction to others, or become artists.
Third. The general advancement of public Art Education, by the exhibition of works of Art and of Art school studies, and by lectures on Art.


2010 Graduate School Rank by US News and World Report

1. Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI

2. Yale University New Haven, CT

3. School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL

4. Cranbrook Academy of Art Bloomfield Hills, MI

5. Maryland Institute College of Art Baltimore, MD

6. Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA

7. California Institute of the Arts Valencia, CA

8. Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh , PA

9. University of California—Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA

10. Alfred University-New York State College of Ceramics Alfred, NY

11. Art Center College of Design Pasadena, CA

12. California College of the Arts San Francisco, CA

Programs of Study


Concentrations at RISD do not confer a degree, they act as minors and require extra courses in the chosen field.


Athletics are not the focus of campus life, but do provide school spirit. RISD sports have fluctuated over the years with the RISD archives containing photos of football, baseball, and basketball teams spanning the very early 20th century. Yearbooks and alumni reveal the RISD Student Association funded basketball teams throughout the 1950s and 1960s that were called the 'Nads'. An ice hockey team formed soon after using the same name, 'Nads'. The ice hockey team played through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s with little record of other athletics. In 2000, a new basketball team was formed under the name 'Balls' to complement the ice hockey team, each with its own slogan: "When the heat is on, the Balls stick together", and "Go Nads" (deliberately sounding like "gonads"). Currently, these are the two most active and organized sports teams at RISD, with basketball the only sport played at varsity-level competition. Together, both teams provide a rally ground for students, faculty, administration, and staff alike. Intramural level teams round out the offering in rock climbing, men's and women's soccer, volleyball, frisbee, flag football, skiing and snowboarding.

In 2001, the Nads created the infamous, and unofficial mascot, "Scrotie," a man-sized penis wearing a red cape. RISD students claim Cooper Union and Pratt Institute as their archrivals in sporting events, and the two hold an annual basketball match in both Providence and New York.

RISD Museum

The development of the Rhode Island School of Design and its museum is tied to Rhode Island’s emergence after the Civil War as the most heavily industrialized state in the Union and to the growing desire for better design in manufacturing. With the region’s prosperity based on the production of silverware, jewelry, machine tools, steam engines, files, screws, and textiles, leading manufacturers as well as civic leaders felt the need for industrial-arts education and exposure to examples of fine art. Even before the war, the Rhode Island Art Association, chartered in 1854, determined “to establish in Providence a permanent Art Museum and Gallery of the Arts and Design.” In the absence of either state funding or private donations, however, the creation of a design school and art museum in Rhode Island did not occur until 1877. Faced with a choice between erecting a drinking fountain in Roger Williams Park or founding a school of design—the latter proposed by Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf (1830–1895)—the Rhode Island Women’s Centennial Commission in that year voted to establish the Rhode Island School of Design by allocating to it the modest $1,675 remaining from its fund-raising for the Women’s Pavilion at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

CHARTER RISD’s Act of Incorporation listed three objectives—instruction, career training, and “the general advancement of public art education by the collection of and exhibition of works of art.” The language of its revised (1893) charter expressed the school’s close alliance with industry: it sought to instruct “artisans in drawing, painting, modeling, and designing, that they may successfully apply the principles of Art to the requirements of trade and manufacture.” From the outset, works of art served as models for instruction, first in classrooms and, as the collection grew, in a separate museum structure. Today, as throughout its history, the RISD Museum is an integral part of Rhode Island School of Design and the principal art museum for the city, state and southeastern New England.

FACILITY The Museum is composed of five buildings on a sloping city block between Main and Benefit Streets on the historic East Side of Providence. The first public galleries were created in 1893 in the Waterman building, which today highlights 19th century American paintings and changing exhibitions. Pendleton House, the country’s first Museum wing devoted to the display of American decorative arts, was built in 1906 as a replica of the Federal-style residence of Charles L. Pendleton. The Eliza G. Radeke building was added in 1926 and houses permanent collection galleries, from Egyptian and Ancient art, through Impressionism, to 20th century art and design. The Daphne Farago wing, erected in 1993, exhibits contemporary art and provides the Benefit Street entrance to the Museum. In 2008, the Chace Center opened with 6000 square feet for special exhibitions and a Museum entrance on Main Street.

TODAY The Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, also known as the RISD Museum, is Rhode Island’s leading museum of fine and decorative art, housing a collection of 84,000 objects of international significance. It is southeastern New England’s only comprehensive art museum and is accredited by the American Association of Museums. The RISD Museum strives to be a vital cultural resource by educating and inspiring a wide variety of audiences: families and individuals, scholars and researchers, artists and designers, and students of all ages. The Museum maintains an active program of exhibitions, lectures, tours, workshops and publications dedicated to the interpretation of art and design from diverse cultures ranging from ancient times to the present.


All of the items at risd|works are designed and made by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) alumni and faculty.

Located in historic Providence, RI, RISD ranks among the world's leading colleges of art and design. Each year 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students study with 450 full- and part-time faculty members. RISD awards bachelor's and master's degrees in 19 art and design disciplines and proudly recognizes its 22,000 alumni: artists and designers who are making a positive impact on our world.

risd|works encourages you to look at familiar things in a new way: behind every item featured - from mass-produced objects to fine art - is the mind and hand of a RISD artist.

All profits from risd|works sales are returned to Rhode Island School of Design for use in furthering its mission. Selling housewares, jewelry, fashion accessories, books and other gifts, the shop carries the work of RISD (pronounced RIZZ-dee) alumni and faculty. This is no standard university store, since the school, founded in 1877, has graduated the glass artist Dale Chihuly, the film director Gus Van Sant and the fashion designer Nicole Miller, among other notables, and had innovative faculty members like the Cuisinart inventor Marc Harrison.

Alumni who haven’t returned to Providence since risd/works opened in 2001 often don’t know about it, forcing Matthew Johnson, who manages the store, to sleuth for wares at trade shows by asking designers he likes the odd question, “Where did you go to school?” The shop buys wholesale, then donates the proceeds from its retail sales to the university’s scholarship fund.

RISD's President: John Maeda

John Maeda is a world-renowned artist, graphic designer, computer scientist and educator whose career reflects his philosophy of humanizing technology. For more than a decade, he has worked to integrate technology, education and the arts into a 21st-century synthesis of creativity and innovation.

Maeda's early work redefined the use of electronic media as a tool for expression by combining skilled computer programming with sensitivity to traditional artistic concerns. This work helped to develop the interactive motion graphics that are prevalent on the web today. A pioneering voice for simplicity in the digital age, he also initiated the Design by Numbers project, a global initiative to teach computer programming to visual artists through a freely available, custom software system he designed.

As a digital artist, Maeda has exhibited in well-received one-man shows in London, New York and Paris. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Cartier Foundation in Paris. In the design realm, he is a trustee of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and has developed advanced projects for major corporations such as Cartier, Google, Philips, Reebok and Samsung, among others.

In 2008 Maeda was named one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century by Esquire magazine. In 2001 he earned the National Design Award in the US; in 2002, the Mainichi Design Prize in Japan; and in 2005, the Raymond Loewy Foundation Prize in Germany.

A former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Maeda taught media arts and sciences there for 12 years and served as associate director of research at the MIT Media Lab. He has published four books, including his 480-page retrospective MAEDA@MEDIA and his most recent, The Laws of Simplicity, which has been translated into 14 languages. Maeda has lectured widely, including at Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, the Royal College of Art, Stanford and UCLA; at the Centre Pompidou, TED conferences and Walker Art Center; and for corporations such as Herman Miller, Sony, Steelcase, Toshiba and Yahoo!.

A native of Seattle, Maeda earned bachelor's and master's degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT, followed by a PhD in Design Science from the University of Tsukuba Institute of Art and Design in Japan and an MBA from Arizona State University.

While his pre-augural student outreach initially generated enthusiasm from the RISD community, recent controversy surrounding Maeda's presidency have made it difficult for a continued outpouring of support. Word of Maeda's lavishly paid PR assistants (that is-- personal PR for Maeda himself, not RISD), knack for name-dropping, and silence on the subject of former RISD Museum Director Hope Alswang's abrupt departure have all contributed to a growing sense of doubt amongst students and faculty alike of Maeda's dedication and sincerity to the job.

Past Presidents

E. Roger Mandle 1993-2008

Louis A. Fazzano 1992-1993 (interim president)

Thomas F. Schutte 1983-1992

Lee Hall 1975-1983

Talbot Rantoul 1969-1975

Donald M. Lay, Jr. 1968-1969 (interim president)

Albert Bush-Brown 1962-1968

John R. Frazier 1955-1962

Max W. Sullivan 1947-1955

Helen Metcalf Danforth 1931-1947

Eliza Greene Metcalf Radeke 1913-1931

Isaac Comstock Bates 1907-1913

William Carey Poland 1896-1907

Herbert Warren Ladd 1891-1896

Alfred Henry Littlefield June 11–27, 1890 (resigned)

Royal Chapin Taft 1888-1890

Claudius Buchanan Farnsworth 1877-1888

Fleet Library

Founded in 1878, the RISD Library is one of the oldest independent art college libraries in the country. Its more than 145,000 volumes and 380 periodical subscriptions offer unusual depth and richness in the areas of architecture, art, design and photography. The collection provides strong historical and contemporary perspectives, and materials in landscape architecture, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry support upper-level research. The library is also noted for its artist’s book collection, its rare books and outstanding visual resources collections.

A nationally award-winning example of adaptive reuse, this 55,000-sf renovated bank building and second floor houses: 130,000 books | 685,000 image and sound holdings | 1,200 artists books

Students also have access to Brown University libraries and the Providence Athenaeum

Notable alumni

Notable current and past faculty

Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts conferred

Commencement speaker indicated by *

  • Beatrice (Oenslager) Chace
Unknown Year
  • Louis A. Fazzano[14]


External links

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