Posts tagged risd

Suburban Renewal

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This summer a group of young New York artists and designers has thrown themselves into bringing art and community into Long Island’s picturesque Bellport Village.

After Georgia Read BArch 13 and her friends clean up an abandoned auto body shop in exchange for the right to use the space as a gallery, they put together a series of successful summer exhibitions. The Car Show (a fitting topic for the space) gave way to The Book Show – which was in effect curated by members of the community, who donated the books – and The Beach Show, which included an 8x10’ driftwood sculpture (pictured above) built by the group.

The fourth and final exhibition, The Chair Show, opened this weekend.  

Celebrating the Land

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Landscape Architecture students who took Nick Pouder’s Ecological Planning & Design studio several years ago have reason to celebrate today as they’re seeing the fruits of their labor pay off.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is doing the honors at the grand opening of the East Kent Hamlet Nature Preserve, a former Girl Scout camp in Connecticut that is being preserved in perpetuity as open land for hikers and nature lovers.

RISD students helped analyze and map the area prior to its purchase, noting that the 263 wooded acres include such historic sites as Kent County’s first iron forge and the Barnum family farm and are home to bobcats, bears and barn owls.

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From East to West

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Trapping Birds 2014, a painting by Professor David Frazer 70 PT, is featured on the cover of the current issue of Art in China magazine. It’s one of 14 Frazer paintings included in the summer exhibition No Room for Form: Contemporary Paintings from American Artists at the SZ Art Center in Beijing. 

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Now that the show has closed in Beijing, it’s en route to the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang, where it will be on view from September 18 through October 6.

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Frazer (third from left) traveled to China for the exhibition opening in June and is currently driving 30 of his paintings across the US for a related exhibition at the soon-to-be-opened International Art Center of San Francisco. Both shows feature his work along with that of three other painters: Fred MartinJeremy Morgan and Ming Ren

Rebranding Barnard

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The NYC-based design firm Poulin + Morris – led by Richard Poulin and Douglas Morris 85 GD – is currently at work changing the face of Barnard College. The firm’s rebranding work includes comprehensive environmental graphics and wayfinding signage that will appear across the four-acre Upper West Side campus. A newly designed crest has been added to the main and secondary entrances, and large-scale placards at each of the college’s four corners clearly define Barnard’s physical borders.

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Act Fast to Cast Your Vote …

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Now that DesignIntelligence is conducting its annual online survey of America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, it’s not too late to cast your vote for RISD. The survey for hiring design professionals and firms closes this Friday, August 22, and the student survey closes the following Friday, August 29.

Survey results are used to rank US-based departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture and Industrial Design. RISD made the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Top 10 in undergraduate Architecture programs.

NEA Chair Jane Chu Visits RISD

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Jane Chu enjoyed a brief tour of selected highlights at RISD.

Yesterday, August 18, leaders of the RISD community welcomed several special guests to campus: Jane Chu, recently appointed chair of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), US Senator Jack Reed  (D-RI) and Randall Rosenbaum, executive director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.

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As Board Chair Michael Spalter, Provost Pradeep Sharma and Museum Director John Smith greeted the group in the Chace Center, Sharma talked about RISD’s STEAM initiative, explaining how it inextricably links innovation, collaboration and technology within a clear social context.

In providing Chairman Chu with historical background on the STEAM movement, Vice Provost Carol Strohecker noted that since 2010 the National Science Foundation (NSF) has been working with the NEA and an international community of researchers, educators and leaders to revitalize ailing economies. 

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Associate Vice President Greg Victory offered concrete examples of how current students make an impact well beyond the typical realms of art and design, citing the work being done by recipients of the Maharam STEAM Fellowship in Applied Art and Design. “They’re able to have a real impact because they’re not afraid to pose questions and take risks,” Victory noted.

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Assistant Professor of Industrial Design Cas Holman demonstrated her Rigamajig building kit for kids, explaining to Chairman Chu and Senator Reed that the role of designers in the STEAM movement is to “enrich and contextualize” the other disciplines. What’s important for educators working with her kit, she noted, is not so much the things that kids create with it, but the act of freeform making itself.

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RISD Board Chair Michael Spalter listens intently as NEA Chair Jane Chu responds to what she’s seeing during her visit to campus.

Chairman Chu expressed interest in how the Rigamajig is used in classrooms and also in the notion of object-based inquiry introduced by Assistant Dean of Faculty Tracie Costantino.

After the informal gathering at the Chace Center, the group enjoyed a quick tour of the Nature Lab led by Director Neal Overstrom and a demonstration of RISD’s ever-inspiring electronic jacquard loom. 

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all photos by David O’Connor

Vote for RISD’s Proposed Panels at SXSWedu

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Now that plans are in the works for the 2015 SXSWedu Conference, organizers are asking online voters to help pick the best proposals for panel discussions. Interim President Rosanne Somerson and several other RISD people have made proposals covering various aspects of art and design education, so please go to the SXSW PanelPicker to help get them on the agenda in Austin (the conference runs from March 9–12, 2015).

Somerson has proposed a talk on the impact of critical making, while Chief of Staff Mara Hermano and Assistant Dean of Faculty Tracie Costantino are working on an interactive panel called Visualizing Critique. If you’re attending the conference and would like to hear more about entrepreneurship, activism and education, vote for the panel proposed by Dean of Liberal Arts Dan Cavicchi, Industrial Design Critic Bill Foulkes, HPSS Department Head Damian White and Assistant Professor Jennifer Prewitt-Freilino. And finally, consider casting a vote for Industrial Design grad student Mariya Sitnova’s proposal on 3D technology in education.

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(Anonymous) voting is open until September 5, and the public is also welcome to submit notes and comments on any of the more than 1,000 panel ideas that have been submitted. Community voting accounts for 30% of the final scheduling decisions (to be announced in October), so make your picks now!

Providence-based jewelry maker Priya Himatsingka 00 JM has launched an updated website to promote her sizable collection of elegant, handmade pieces made of silver, high-karat gold and diamonds. Born in India to a family of textile designers, Hamatsingka studied at Parsons and NYU before coming to RISD. Her beautifully understated necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings are available online, through wholesale distribution and at scores of stores throughout the country.

Rising Interest in RocketSkates

After dreaming about motorized skates for nearly a decade, Peter Treadway 96 ID is about to see his dream come true thanks to a phenomenally successful Kickstarter campaign. His California-based startup ACTON launched the campaign to raise $50K for the initial run of RocketSkates™, but has already brought in more than $445K in pledges. “I developed 50 or 60 prototypes,” the designer says, “and now we’ve finally got the product rolling, literally and figuratively.”

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The lightweight electric skates attach to shoes and propel the skater along at up to 12 mph. Three models will be available (with increasing range and run times before a battery recharge is needed) at prices ranging from $499 to $699. Skaters use their feet to kick off, tilt forward to accelerate and backward to slow down.

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RocketSkates have been generating a lot of buzz on tech-savvy media outlets such as the BBC Newsletter and engadget.com, and have been highlighted on a number of TV news shows. As Treadway explained to a Fox news reporter, the objective is to get people out of their cars for local errands and spins around town.

RISD Grads Contribute to Simpsons’ Wins

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Chuck Ragins 91 IL, a longtime layout artist for The Simpsonsrecently won an Emmy for his design work on last season’s Halloween episode. As America’s perennial favorite animated series celebrates 25 years on the air, Ragins points out that dozens of artists and animators he’s worked with over the past 18 years are fellow RISD grads. “We have had a lot of influence over the visual evolution of the show since the second season,” he says.

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Ragins won his first Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation in 2010 for his work on the episode Postcards from the Wedge. In a tip of the hat to his home state of Alaska, he also made a cameo appearance as a chairlift operator at a questionable ski resort in the 2000 episode Little Big Mom.

Happily Ever After

imageIn late July Los Angeles-based artist and steampunker Andrew Fogel 09 FAV surprised Kate Walsh 08 IL by getting down on one padded knee to propose on stage at the sixth annual Starburner Awards at the 2014 Comic Con convention in San Diego. Despite the fact that Walsh had previously told Fogel he was “not allowed to propose on stage,” it looks like she said yes as members of the couple’s tribe were being honored for outstanding contributions to the steampunk community.

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Cozzens Wins Recognition at Foo Fest

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When Providence arts collective AS220 celebrates independent music and arts at its annual Foo Fest tomorrow (August 9), it will also present Free Culture Awards to avant-garde performance artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and transgendered printmaker Ian Cozzens BArch 05 (above), who creates prints as “strategic solidarity maneuvers against the forced hetero-normativity of late capitalism.”

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The biennial awards recognize artists “whose work has made a significant contribution to grassroots, participatory culture and freedom of expression, and whose art and/or process embodies the organization’s unjuried, uncensored mission.” The prize itself is a glass (society-shaping) hammer designed by AS220 Artistic Director Umberto Crenca and artist Steve Easton.

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“Shared, self-made graphics hold power for creating our lives and realities,” says Cozzens – “for piecing our stories together based on memory, delight, the irrational, the impossible, the failed and the beautiful.”

Bradley Promotes Accessibility

When arts administrators from across the country gathered in Chicago over the weekend, they recognized Rebecca Bradley MA 10 with a 2014 Emerging Leader Award at the Kennedy Center’s Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) ConferenceThe goal of honoring selected leaders in the field is to increase awareness and focus on the importance of accessibility at artistic venues and cultural institutions across the country.

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Bradley coordinates accessibility for Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which includes the de Young Museum and the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Golden Gate Park. Since joining the organization in 2012, she has introduced Artful Discoveries, an interactive program for museum visitors living with early-stage dementia. 

 

The newly minted Industrial Design grads who run Plust, a small firm based in Providence, go to tremendous lengths to test their prototypes. In March  Toshi Sakagushi 14 ID and Lukas Scheurer 14 ID hopped in a car and drove south to Key West, FL to test the durability of Linkmount, a multifunctional device they’re developing for smart phones that offers a magnetic dock and wrist leash while also functioning as a tripod.

“It’s a smart phone gadget that helps you create better content and keeps you in control of your phone,” Sakagushi explains. “Plus, it’s reusable so you don’t have to throw it out when you upgrade your phone.” 

After hammering out the initial design, the Plust team built a short-run injection mold to make their prototype. They then tested the device in shooting video of themselves snowboarding down a mountain, canoeing in a river and soaring through the sky in a two-person plane.

The designers are now running a Kickstarter campaign to offset some of the costs of manufacturing the Linkmount, hoping to raise $35,000 by the end of September. 

In the process of testing their prototype, they’ve “met all types of people on the road,” Sakagushi says. “As designers, it’s so satisfying to hear that this little device makes their lives better.”

Braving the Elements

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Putting the A in STEAM, a recent story in the New York Times, features a piece by sculptor Rebecca Kamen MFA 78 SC, who continues to bridge the perceived divide between art and science while advocating for reintroducing the arts to the reigning educational emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math.

Times writer Susan Hodara describes Kamen’s piece Divining Nature: An Elemental Garden – which was inspired by the periodic table – as “an assembly of 83 delicate sculptural forms made of shapes cut from white Mylar and stacked on fiberglass rods. Each of the shapes represents a naturally occurring element; they sprawl across the floor like spinning ballerinas and climb the wall in a spiral based on the Fibonacci sequence.”

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Kamen is currently working on a new installation inspired by gravitational wave physics, which will be exhibited at the National Academy of Sciences in 2015. “It will combine sculptural elements and a soundscape composed of sounds emitting from black holes,” the artist explains. “The installation will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s discovery of general relativity.”