The Rhode Island School of Design, most commonly known by its acronym RISD, is an internationally acclaimed leader in art and design education. Established in 1877 by 34 members of the Rhode Island Women’s Centennial Commission, the school embarked on a radical experiment in education: combining the study of art, craft, and design, from sculpture and textiles to furniture making and glass production. The red brick Waterman Building (1893) is a Venetian Renaissance landmark that was built to house art galleries, classrooms, and studios. At the base of the hill is the Metcalf Building (1915), created to look and function as a textile factory to teach students about the practical manufacture of fabrics, as well as their design. RISD offers more than a traditional fine arts school education, with an emphasis on creative thinking, industrial design, and superior craftsmanship. RISD’s campus, which began alongside the Brown University campus on College Hill has since expanded into Providence’s downtown area.
Founded in 1877 (the same year as the school), the RISD Museum boasts one of the country’s finest collections of art from across many cultures, time periods, and media, from ancient Egyptian artifacts and early American decorative arts to French Impressionist paintings and cutting edge film and video. The museum supports the school’s original focus on industrial arts education in many forms from textiles to jewelry design. The museum’s groundbreaking exhibitions, educational outreach, and extensive public programs continue to form the foundation of a thriving creative culture in the city of Providence and beyond.