Rhode Island School of Design

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Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design seal.png
Established 1877
Type Private
Endowment $273.8 million[1]
President Rosanne Somerson
Academic staff 146 full-time 336 part-time
Students 2,282
Undergraduates 1,883
Postgraduates 399
Location Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Campus Urban
13 acres (53,000 m²)
Mascot Scrotie the Scrotum
Website risd.edu
Museum of Art

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD, /ˈrɪzd/) is a fine arts and design college located in Providence, in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. Founded in 1877, it is 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 to RISD are required to complete RISD's infamous two-drawing "hometest", one of which involves the trademark RISD bicycle drawing.

It 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.


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.

Programs of study[edit]


RISD is annually ranked as the top art and design school in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranked RISD first amongst Fine Arts programs, above Yale University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.[3] Within subdivisions of Fine Arts, the school was ranked 1st in graphic design, printmaking and industrial design; 2nd in painting; and 3rd in ceramics and photography.[4]


Concentrations at RISD do not confer a degree; they act like minors at other education institutions and require courses in the chosen field.

RISD Museum[edit]

The RISD Museum houses a collection of fine and decorative art objects. The first public galleries opened in 1893.

Past presidents[edit]

John Maeda 2008–2013
E. Roger Mandle 1993–2008
Louis A. Fazzano 1992–1993 (interim president)
Thomas F. Schutte 1983–1992
Lee Hall 1976–1983
Talbot Rantoul 1969–1976
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[edit]

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, and 1,200 artists books.

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

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable current and past faculty[edit]

Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts[edit]

Commencement speaker indicated by *

  • Beatrice (Oenslager) Chace
Unknown Year
  • Louis A. Fazzano[19]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  2. ^ Kirk, Laura Meade (2004-03-21). "From bonnets to baccalaureates". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  3. ^ http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/risd-3409
  4. ^ http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rhode-island-school-of-design-217493/overall-rankings
  5. ^ http://www.risd.edu/About/News/Global_Luminaries_at_Commencement_2012/
  6. ^ http://www.risd.edu/templates/content.aspx?id=4294975400
  7. ^ http://www.risd.edu/templates/content.aspx?id=4294974125
  8. ^ http://www.risd.edu/pdf/press/Commencement09.pdf
  9. ^ http://www.risd.edu/pdf/views/views_spring2008.pdf
  10. ^ http://www.risd.edu/pdf/press/Commencement07.pdf
  11. ^ http://www.risd.edu/pdf/press/Commencement05.pdf
  12. ^ http://www.risd.edu/pdf/press/Commencement.pdf
  13. ^ http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/35298/
  14. ^ http://www.risd.edu/school_press_14.htm
  15. ^ http://www.pacewildenstein.com/Artists/ViewArtist.aspx?artist=ElizabethMurray&type=Artist&guid=73a8c2ba-4566-4412-b673-ac4f95a7bb25
  16. ^ http://www.risd.edu/pdf/views/views_fall2002.pdf
  17. ^ http://www.chihuly.com/documents/pdfs/DC_Awards.pdf
  18. ^ http://www.risd.edu/school_press_05.htm
  19. ^ http://www.zoominfo.com/people/Fazzano_Louis_1253591.aspx

External links[edit]