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Better Together Being a member of the RISD community for more than 40 years—as a student, alumna, maker, professor, parent and president—has provided me with the opportunity to experience RISD from many points of view. Through these vantage points I know that together we make a larger impact on the world of art and design because we support each other, whether in the classroom, through our professional networks or in our home communities around the world. In these pages you will see how our collective contributions are improving the lives of RISD students, faculty, alumni and people around the world. We recently reworked the first floor of 20 Washington Place to colocate essential student services like financial aid, advising and career services. We launched our first set of alumni programs in response to the findings of our 2018 Alumni Survey. Soon we will reopen the museum’s original 1877 Gallery—now undergoing a spectacular renovation—and rename it for visionary museum founders Jesse and Helen Metcalf. This fall, 148 students will live in a new residence hall, the first RISD has built in decades, and a new cohort of graduate students will be the first in the new Global Arts and Cultures Master of Arts program.
President Somerson signing the final beam at the the opening ceremony of RISD's new residence hall. See page 12.
Your philanthropic support and volunteer work propel RISD forward and build a bright future for the next generation of leaders at a time when the essential RISD traits of courage, creativity and perseverance are needed more than ever. Thank you for inspiring us every day. ROSANNE SOMERSON 76 ID PRESIDENT
Giving Raises the Bar
Our donors made FY 2018 our secondhighest fundraising year in RISD history.
Donors large and small are making an extraordinary impact for RISD students.
105 DONORS HAVE BEEN GIVING EVERY YEAR FOR 25+ YEARS
485 FIRST-TIME DONORS IN FY18
$12.6m IMPACT OF 1877 SOCIETY MEMBERS
$16.7m RAISED IN FY18
Joining Creative Passions
Recipient of the Malcolm Grear Endowed Scholarship
With financial support from RISD, Xiomara España is pursuing a future in publishing. Xiomara España 20 GD grew up in an immigrant household in Los Angeles and is thankful for her Mexican and Argentinian heritage, which enriched her life with multiple languages, cuisines and cultural influences. Her father was a photographer before becoming a producer and filmmaker, and it was he who introduced her to the visual language of images. He gave her a camera when she was eleven years old, and from there she began to build her creative practice through a range of art classes. “I discovered graphic design and found that my love for language and words could be applied to image,” she explains.
España is grateful to receive the Malcolm Grear Endowed Scholarship, which makes attending RISD possible for her. “RISD tuition is expensive, and studying across the country is an added cost. The scholarship lessens the daily stress I would otherwise feel.” With financial support freeing her to focus on developing her creative practice, she concentrates in Literary Arts and Studies to supplement her major in Graphic Design. “To really push myself as a creator—and specifically as a creator of books—I need to be reading and writing constantly,” she says. “I am studying creative writing because it is important to know how to articulate and write about one’s work and form educated opinions.”
“I knew I wanted to study graphic design in college. I did my research and found that if I wanted to get the best education in graphic design, I needed to attend RISD,” recalls España. “RISD not only has made me a better designer technically, but it also has changed the way I think and look at the world. It is as if I was in the dark before, but now every logo and every book can captivate me for hours. I am mesmerized by all the little details and now immersed in RISD’s community that lives and breathes design—sometimes quite literally.”
“The scholarship, awarded by my department for my achievements, has decreased the financial burden I have placed upon myself and my family.”
España also pursues her passion for publishing and her interest in intersectional feminism outside of the classroom. She serves as president of the RISD Feminist club, which just published its first zine, an endeavor they hope will become an annual publication. It has been added to the Fleet Library in RISD’s growing zine archive.
Exploring New Ground
Recipient of the Peter St. Onge 09 Memorial Travel Award, a RISD Fellowship and a Materials Fund grant
Costantino was drawn to the Irish fairy stories that he explored in his course and found inspiration in Celtic jewelry and the triple spiral inscribed in rock at the World Heritage site of Newgrange in the Boyne Valley in Ireland. His prints act as a map to navigate between the explainable world of fairy stories and the otherness of nature.
Thanks to several forms of support, graduate student Nick Costantino is shaping his practice for the future. Traveling to the west coast of Ireland with Robert Brinkerhoff, professor of Illustration and dean of Fine Arts, was the chance of a lifetime for Nick Costantino MFA 19 PR. “Illustrating Irish Myths and Legends in the Burren was a wonderful, exploratory and philosophically grounding experience. I had wanted to visit Ireland for a long time, and I love reading and learning about different myths and legends,” said Costantino. The Peter St. Onge 09 Memorial Travel Award helped to pave the way. “The travel award was an incredible gift. I definitely would not have been able to travel abroad while earning my MFA without this financial assistance.
to try new things and approach the concepts from unexpected angles,” recalls Costantino. “As freeing as the experience was, it was also surprisingly grounding because I had the time to think about how I want to shape my practice in the future. Printmaking has a long history of political and social engagement, and I’d like my practice to be a part of that tradition.” Costantino has been buoyed by the support he’s received during his graduate education. “I receive a RISD fellowship that reduces the amount I need to take out in loans and am also a teaching assistant in the Printmaking department through the Federal Work-Study program,” he notes. “I’ve also received grants through the Materials Fund, without which I would simply not have been able to push my class assignments to the places I wanted to take them. All of the work I showed in my final grad studio critique was made from materials acquired through this funding.”
“The west coast of Ireland, and the Burren in particular, is an extraordinarily beautiful place and I took the many opportunities to walk the countryside, write, photograph, film, gaze and be. The Burren seeped into me, and the experience felt like a residency program where I was able
“There is an incredible amount of opportunity at RISD, and I’m very thankful for the assistance I’ve received to take advantage of it all.”
Access to Art and Design The RISD Museum offers programs that encourage people to explore its collections.
103 PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE OPPORTUNITIES PROVIDED TO RISD STUDENTS AT THE MUSEUM
4,272 RISD STUDENTS SERVED THROUGH CLASSROOM VISITS TO THE MUSEUM
119,061 TOTAL VISITORS TO THE MUSEUM
Evolving as a Maker
Recipient of the Parentsâ€™ Council Internship Award
Thanks to an Internship Award, Jacob Miller spent last summer working alongside sculptor and furniture designer Christopher Kurtz.
“I didn’t think that I would be accepted when I applied to RISD,” recalls Jacob Miller 19 FD. “Although my school’s curriculum intertwined art into every class, including science and math, it was an internship with a product designer in Atlanta that led me to apply.”
This past summer he interned at the Christopher Kurtz Studio in Kingston, New York. “I developed wooden sculptures for Kurtz’s upcoming solo exhibition at Patrick Parrish Gallery in New York City and completed commissions for clients,” recalls Miller. “His practice caught my eye because of his similar interests in craft, sculpture and design.” A Parents’ Council Internship Award made his enriching summer experience possible. “It allowed me to pursue an unpaid and out-of-state summer position that otherwise would not have been financially feasible,” says Miller.
Once accepted, Miller and his parents worried about paying tuition, but a scholarship from RISD “greatly lessens the blow of full tuition,” says Miller. When he arrived on campus he thought he would major in Industrial Design, but a hands-on making process he experienced during a Wintersession course swayed him to study Furniture Design. In true RISD fashion, his creative direction continues to evolve. “Recently, I have become more interested with sculpture and nonfunctional objects in my work because I enjoy the more deeply engaged intellectual process that this work entails.”
“Beyond the financial aid the grant provided, it allowed me to gain independence by living away from RISD and my family for the first time.”
Soaring to New Heights More than a hundred RISD students, alumni, trustees, faculty and staff braved cold temperatures this January to celebrate the placement of the final beam atop RISDâ€™s new residence hall.
January 23, 2019 | 60 Waterman Street
RISD's first new student
The first hybrid steel and
Built using sustainable
residence in decades
structure in New England
“This new residence hall demonstrates our collective dedication to student health and wellness, and it’s this level of commitment that truly makes an impact on the everyday life of the college and its future.” ROSANNE SOMERSON, PRESIDENT Guests enjoyed hot apple cider and were invited to sign the beam before it was hoisted to the top of the five-story structure. When it opens this fall, students will enjoy work rooms, social lounges and private retreats. The residence will house 148 students and provide RISD with the housing flexibility it needs to renovate Homer and Nickerson Halls.
Supporting Teaching and Creative Practice The recipient of RISD’s first endowed professorship inspires students through his commitment to professional practice.
As part of his approach to teaching, furniture designer John Dunnigan MFA 80 ID P 22 encourages his students to lead a life driven by critical thinking. “I help guide students to develop certain skills, processes and ways of thinking and to cultivate a personal and collective way of working that is effective for them,” he says. The longtime faculty member believes that the creative practices of RISD faculty provide important benefits to students. “Faculty here share their expertise with students without expecting emulation, but they also serve as role models—so being a serious designer, artist or scholar really matters. Professional credibility makes a difference in effective teaching,” says Dunnigan. In 2016 Dunnigan was selected to receive RISD’s first endowed professorship—the Schiller Family Endowed Chair in Furniture Design—established by RISD trustee Kim Gassett-Schiller P 14 and Philip Schiller P 14. Endowed professorships offer a prestigious distinction for individual faculty members and provide an ongoing source of financial support for both RISD and the holder’s department.
Schiller Family Endowed Chair in Furniture Design
“I was very moved to receive this honor. Considering how many of my colleagues are deserving of this kind of recognition, it was rather humbling to be given this distinction.”
Offering a Helping Hand
Recipient of a Staff Council Student Award
Staff work together to help undergraduates succeed.
The RISD Staff Council has been raising funds and encouraging staff to make donations in support of RISD students for more than a decade. This ongoing philanthropic effort initially funded the Staff Council Student Awards, which were given to undergraduates in their final year at RISD—from both the Fine Arts and Architecture + Design divisions. The awards provided $500 each in campus store credits and have supported 17 students since 2010. Diane Walker, associate registrar for operations and curriculum, was one of the founding members of the RISD Staff Council. She recalls the council took on the student awards project shortly after its formation. “RISD is a very caring community, and providing students with support for materials during their final year is an easy sell,” says Walker. She notes that staff and faculty enthusiastically supported the cause from the very beginning. In 2014, the Staff Council decided to work toward creating an endowed scholarship. Since then, more than 110 staff, faculty and local companies have given directly over the years and many more have participated through events.
“This award meant a lot to me because it was the first time in my RISD career that I felt like I could make something without monetary constraints.”
and I am thankful for the opportunity. I am also looking forward to using this award for an upcoming animated installation.”
The annual awards have made a positive impact on students. “I work a lot with mixing physical mediums with computer visual effects for my animations. This year I pushed myself to make a film with visuals made entirely out of gouache on paper,” says Dairys Escoto 19 FAV, one of the recipients of the award this year. “Having the liberty to experiment with these costlier materials was an amazing experience,
As of this year, the council has raised enough money to endow the fund and create RISD’s 205th scholarship, which will continue in perpetuity. Committed to helping to RISD students, the council encourages staff to give through payroll deduction, one-time gifts and events like the RISD Flips Yard Sale.
We surveyed alumni last summer to better understand how they feel about RISD and how we can better serve them.*
Alumni feel positive about RISD.
9 of 10 ARE PROUD TO HAVE
RATE THEIR ACADEMIC EXPERIENCE
AT RISD AS GOOD OR EXCELLENT
The RISD experience makes an impact.
talented MOST COMMON ANSWERS TO:
Being a RISD grad means that I am...
21% OF ALUMNI RESPONDENTS WERE THE FIRST COLLEGE GRADUATES IN THEIR FAMILIES
RISD contacted approximately 26,000 alumni and nearly 2,500 alumni completed the survey, garnering a 10 percent response rate. The survey’s margin of error was just under 2 percent. Alumni were very thoughtful in their responses—27 minutes was the median amount of time that alumni spent taking the survey.
RISD fuels passion.
THE AGE BY WHICH 2/3 OF
OF RESPONDENTS HAVE
RESPONDENTS KNEW THEY
STARTED A BUSINESS
WANTED TO BECOME ARTISTS
The most valued qualities about the RISD experience:
RISD offers an immersive,
Students push the limits of their
The studio environment
own expectations and inspire
fosters curiosity, flexibility,
based studio education.
each other in the studio.
empathy, imagination and expansive thinking.
Alumni want to connect with RISD and one another.
Look for new ways to connect: join affinity groups and regional clubs, come back to campus for RISD Weekend and volunteer for RISD Serves projects.
OF ALUMNI RATE THEIR ENGAGEMENT AS LOW; HOWEVER...
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!
We want to hear from our whole community: email@example.com
OF THESE ALUMNI WANT TO BE MORE CONNECTED TO RISD.
Championing Student Success The Hong Kong Alumni Club helps todayâ€™s students realize their dreams. In addition to hosting sendoff events for admitted students, alumni in Hong Kong embraced the idea of endowing a scholarship. The effort was anchored by lead donors Donald Choi BArch 82 P 07 and RISD Fund cochair Norman Chan BArch 85. Club leaders Choi, Frank Chow BLA 92 and Rex Wong BArch 03 encouraged alumni to give and organized a series of fundraising efforts to support the scholarship and generate a broad base of support. Alumni donated their artwork for auctions benefitting the scholarship, and the club held special dinners and other events to raise additional funds. The club endowed the Hong Kong Alumni Club Endowed Scholarship in 2016 and continues to raise funds to increase the amount of the annual scholarship award.
YEAR CLUB FOUNDED
RAISED FOR SCHOLARSHIP
“This scholarship is the only reason I am able to attend RISD. Back home I knew tons of talented people that would have loved to pursue their passions through their educations, but without financial help they have not had this opportunity. This scholarship has changed my life in ways I couldn't have imagined. I have not only surpassed the creative progress I had made at home but also have found myself as a person. My work has grown because I have been inspired by being around other artists at RISD.” ZENON HOLOWATY 21 FAV RECIPIENT, HONG KONG ALUMNI CLUB ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP
“I like to tell alumni that RISD is the reason I still dream. Alumni are making students’ dreams possible through this scholarship. Every member of our club who has made gifts, donated or bought auctioned artwork, or attended our fundraising dinners is a dream maker.” DONALD CHOI BARCH 82 P 07
2018 ALUMNI SURVEY RESULTS
55% OF ALUMNI SURVEY RESPONDENTS HAVE
Paying it forward by creating an opportunity for someone else
Top Reasons for Giving:
Providing scholarships to empower talented/deserving students
DONATED TO RISD
Giving back as a way to thank RISD for the difference made in their lives
Providing Peace of Mind The RISD Scholars program provides sustained support for undergraduates. RISD Parents’ Council members William G. Fleischer P 18 and Grimanesa Amoros P 18 are committed to supporting RISD students. When they learned about the RISD Scholars program—which provides scholarships through the RISD Fund— they knew this was how they could make an impact. “Since 1949, my company ArtInsuranceNow.com / Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. has been providing peace of mind to museums, galleries, individual collectors and artists by insuring their workspaces and works of art,” says Fleischer. “Art and design are precious to us, and their preservation is of great importance. Grimanesa and I are pleased and grateful to be able to give that same sense of security to some of RISD’s students by offering financial aid to alleviate their debt burden and ensure they can continue their studies.” Philadelphia native Wynn Geary 19 ID is a beneficiary of the couple’s largesse. In addition to pursuing his major in Industrial Design, Geary is concentrating in Nature–Culture– Sustainability Studies and is president of RISD Beekeeping, the student group that studies and cares for thriving beehives at the President’s House and on the grounds of the Woods-Gerry Gallery.
The RISD Scholars program makes RISD more affordable for today's students.
2018 ALUMNI SURVEY RESULTS
To learn more about establishing a
RISD Scholars award, please contact Sarah Sligo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
OF ALUMNI SURVEY RESPONDENTS
toll-free at 844 454-1877.
WERE CONCERNED ABOUT THE AFFORDABILITY OF RISD
Wynn Geary (center), with fellow members of RISD Beekeeping and President Somerson, is the recipient of a RISD Scholars award.
“This scholarship has not only taken a huge weight off of my shoulders but also off of my parents’ shoulders. Easing this financial burden has allowed me to worry less and has inspired me to lean fully into my senior thesis project designing sustainable sensor-enhanced beehives.” WYNN GEARY 19 ID 21
Introducing Founders Day The RISD community reflects on its roots and gives back to communities around the world. Founders Day is a new spring tradition honoring the birth of RISD as an institution “for the purpose of aiding in the cultivation of the arts of design.” After establishing the school with a gift of $1,675 from the Rhode Island Women’s Centennial Commission, the founders persevered with their vision in the face of front-page editorials in the Providence Journal and the Evening Bulletin questioning the feasibility of founding a school with such a small sum that did not include a trust legacy.
Since its incorporation on March 22, 1877, RISD has challenged expectations and pushed the boundaries of creative learning. To honor the resilience of our founders— Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf and the members of the Rhode Island Women’s Centennial Commission—the RISD community celebrated Founders Day by participating in events, a food drive and RISD Serves projects at community organizations across Providence.
If you are interested in organizing a RISD Serves project for next year, it is never too early to start planning. Please email email@example.com or call toll-free at 844 454-1877 to get started.
The spirit of Founders Day spread far beyond campus as alumni organized RISD Serves projects in their home communities.
In China, Beijing alumni hosted an arts workshop for the children of migrant workers. Alumni in Hong Kong visited a center for the elderly. Alumni worked to improve human attitudes about animals in urban India by designing water bowls to provide multiple species of animals with access to clean water. In Southern California, alumni (left) worked with Help California to clean up and rebuild properties devastated by the Woolsey and Hill fires and subsequent heavy rains. Boston alumni assembed print/braille books for blind children in partnership with the National Braille Press.
Leading the Way Two $25,000 challenges issued in December have inspired scores of alumni and parents to give for the first time and hundreds more to increase their level of philanthropic support for RISD. Katherine Megrue-Smith 88 GD encouraged alumni to support the RISD Fund:
Rollie Sturm P 17 challenged parents to elevate their giving:
INCREASE IN GIVING
INCREASE IN GIVING
FROM FY 2017
FROM FY 2017
FIRST-TIME ALUMNI DONORS
134 ALUMNI AND STUDENTS EXHIBITED AND SOLD WORK AT RISD CRAFT
Deepening Ties at RISD Weekend A growing number of alumni, parents and friends reconnected and forged new bonds during RISD Weekend 2018.
ALUMNI, PARENTS AND
EVENTS, OPEN STUDIOS
MOST MILES TRAVELED
ONE-WAY TO ATTEND
54% INCREASE IN ATTENDANCE FROM 2017 TO 2018
10% OF ALL ATTENDEES WERE FROM THE CLASS OF 1988
Looking Ahead to RISD Weekend 2019 Return to campus on October 11–13 to celebrate all that makes RISD extraordinary—and learn new skills
2018 ALUMNI SURVEY RESULTS
to fire up your creative practice and business acumen.
Alumni, parents and friends are warmly welcomed back to campus to enjoy two and a half days of social gatherings, exhibitions, panels, talks and demonstrations, and to engage with our exceptional community of artists and designers. Please join us in October to experience some of the many ways that a RISD education never stops.
OF RESPONDENTS WERE CONCERNED ABOUT CAREER PREPARATION
Alumni had a lot to say in the 2018 Alumni Survey, and RISD Weekend 2019 will be even better for it. In addition to the usual favorites— class reunions, RISD Craft, hands-on making workshops, open studios and behind-the-scenes tours—exciting new programming is in the works. How’s Business? seminars will explore current challenges and influences shaping today’s commercial and entrepreneurial landscape and help alumni launch and grow creative business ventures. Designing Change programs will feature alumni who are working to effect social change through their creative practices. Alumni Association Awards will recognize the accomplishments of some of RISD’s most inspirational alumni.
Please visit risdweekend.com or call toll-free at 844 454-1877 to learn more.
Building New Networks
RISD launched its inaugural affinity groups this spring, and new groups will form in the coming months:
Affinity groups connect alumni in new ways.
RISD Architects brings together designers engaged with architecture, interior architecture and landscape architecture.
RISD alumni and students share creative professions, identities and experiences. Affinity groups help alumni stay engaged with RISD’s global community through cultural and social events, service projects, webinars and other learning opportunities. They also offer alumni and students the opportunity to network across geographic areas, class years and majors.
Leaders: Bob Schaeffner BArch 81, Will McLoughlin BArch 09
RISD Alumni in Film and Television serves as a network of artists and designers in film and television. To join one of these groups or to start your own, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 844 454-1877 to get started.
Leaders: Ryan Cunningham 02 FAV, Ilene Chaiken 79 GD P 18
RISD Alumni in Tech links creative professionals interested in the technology sector. Leaders: Jonathan Arena 09 GD, Michael Neff 04 PH
RISD Chinese Professionals serves Chinese alumni working—or hoping to work—in the United States. Leader: Xinye Lin MArch 18
RISD Founders and Entrepreneurs builds connections among RISD alumni who have founded organizations or businesses. Leader: TBD
Left: Alumni event at Amazon Spheres
Strengthening RISD for Its Next 150 Years Community engagement drives innovation in art and design education.
RISD was founded in 1877 with an act
Our global community of artists and designers have much to offer our students and each other. We surveyed alumni last summer to understand better how alumni feel about RISD and how we can better serve alumni. We learned that alumni want to deepen their engagement with RISD and have new tools to connect with one another.
of philanthropy when the Rhode Island Womenâ€™s Centennial Commission made a gift of $1,675 to found a school of art and design. These forward-thinking community
Institutional Engagement is excited to deliver. Working with the RISD Alumni Association, our Alumni Relations team is building and implementing a lifelong engagement strategy. This includes forming new regional clubs around the globe, introducing affinity groups across industries and shared interests, providing digital tools like a new alumni website that launches this October, building a platform to support alumni mentors and volunteers, coordinating with the Career Center to enhance career services for alumni and offering new lifelong learning opportunities. We are energized to be building an even more robust RISD community for its next 150 years.
leaders could not have imagined how their gift would launch a college that is a leader in art and design education and whose alumni are creative leaders around the world.
Stay tuned as we roll out new programs in the coming months, and thank you for your commitment to RISD and its students. Oâ€™NEIL OUTAR VICE PRESIDENT OF INSTITUTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
Institutional Engagement at RISD The Institutional Engagement team is dedicated to advancing RISDâ€™s mission by strategically fostering lifelong relationships with alumni, parents, friends and organizations that strengthen goodwill and philanthropy.
Written by Christy Law Blanchard
a donor and volunteer impact report
Photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH,
from Institutional Engagement
with additional photos by Matthew
PHONE 4 01 454-6403
Rhode Island School of Design
Watson 09 FAV and David O'Connor
Design by Studio Rainwater
toll-free: 844 454-1877
Rhode Island School of Design Two College Street Providence, RI 02903 USA