October 9, 2015
2 pm

On Friday, October 9, 2015 the RISD community celebrated the inauguration of its 17th president, Rosanne Somerson (RISD BFA 76), who is the first alumna to serve in this position. The official investiture ceremony took place under a huge tent at the historic national park just north of campus and formed the cornerstone of RISD by Design weekend, a three-day gathering that brought hundreds of alumni, parents and other special guests to campus to connect with students, faculty, staff and each other.

Speakers at the two-hour inauguration ceremony were:
Board of Trustees Chair Michael Spalter
RI Governor Gina Raimondo
US Senator Jack Reed
US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
artist Janine Antoni (RISD MFA 89)
artist Kara Walker (RISD MFA 94)
fashion designer Nicole Miller (RISD BFA 73)
Board of Trustees Vice Chair Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn (RISD BFA 84)
Student Alliance President Yelitsa Jean-Charles (RISD BFA 16)
graduate student Chereth Hines-Channer (RISD MArch 17)
Professor of Illustration Robert Brinkerhoff
Staff Council President Pierre St-Germaine
RISD Museum Director John Smith
Tate Modern Director Chris Dercon
Brown University President Christina Paxson

As the final presenter, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Tony Johnson (RISD BFA 93) sang a rousing rendition of Lean On. A selection of video clips of featured speakers is shown below, along with a gallery of photos from the event and the afterparty festivities that followed into the evening.

RISD President Rosanne Somerson (RISD BFA 76) delivering her inaugural address on Octboer 9, 2015 | photo by Jo Sittenfeld/RISD Media
RI Governor Gina Raimondo, RISD President Rosanne Somerson (RISD BFA 76) and artist Janine Antoni (RISD MFA 89) | photo by Jo Sittenfeld/RISD Media
The crowd responds to Janine Antoni’s prompt to hold hands and think good thoughts as they send a successive hand-squeeze forward to the new president | photo by Jo Sittenfeld/RISD Media
Artist Kara Walker (RISD MFA 94) with President Rosanne Somerson (RISD BFA 76) | photo by Jo Sittenfeld/RISD Media
RISD President Rosanne Somerson with her daughters Annise and Isabel Mattia | photo by Jo Sittenfeld/RISD Media
President Somerson’s daughter Annise Mattia adjusts the presidential chain during her mother’s investiture.
RISD Student Alliance President Yelitsa Jean-Charles (BFA 16) and MacArthur Award-winning artist Kara Walker (RISD MFA 94)
Artist Janine Antoni (RISD MFA 89) with current students Yelitsa Jean-Charles (RISD BFA 16) and Chereth Hines-Channer (RISD MArch 17)
A crowd shot during the ceremony
Pauline and Stephen Metcalf represent RISD's founding family
Alumni Kara Walker, Nicole Miller and Lisa Pevaroff-Cohn, along with RI Governor Gina Raimondo
The afterparty in the central campus area featured video and other installations, along with good music and food.
An installation by Pneuhaus, a recent RISD startup, on the river

Inaugural Events

October 6 – 11

Explore the RISD Museum

10 am – 5 pm daily (until 6 pm on October 9)

RISD Museum
20 North Main Street

To help celebrate, the RISD Museum is offering free admission all week.

Thursday, October 8

Glass Visiting Artists Series: James Carpenter

5 pm

Metcalf Auditorium, 1st floor, Chace Center
20 North Main Street
MacArthur Award-winning artist and designer James Carpenter (BFA 72 IL) speaks about several of the many phenomenal projects undertaken by his NYC-based firm James Carpenter Design Associates.

Friday, October 9

Collaboration in Action: Co-Works Tour

11 am – 12:30 pm

212 Union Street
Stop in at Co-Works, RISD’s new interdisciplinary digital fabrication studio, where David Kim (MFA 14 DM) demonstrates the state-of-the-art equipment available to students and faculty members, including laser cutters, UV printers and advanced CNC machines.

The Loose Marbles

11 am – 1 pm
Chace Center Plaza
20 North Main Street
Enjoy the sweet sounds of New Orleans-flavored jazz courtesy of Professor Emeritus Preston McClanahan on bass, along with Johnny Juxo, Stinky Pete, Kid Comet, Doc Sweets, Woody and Pop Rivets.

RISD History Revisited

11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Fleet Library at RISD, Mandle Center

15 Westminster Street, 1st floor

Join RISD Archivist Andy Martinez for a tour of two new special exhibitions on view at the Fleet Library at RISD: Becoming RISD, which examines the college's history through its past leaders, and What We Teach: 75 Years of Liberal Arts.

Ongoing Exhibitions + Performances

Techstyle Haus | Chicago Horizon | Kaleidoscope-Periscope
Illustration Studies Building parking lot
three architectural exhibitions by Architecture + Design faculty

The Origin of Clouds
Moore Terrace
a 9-minute digital video by Assistant Professor of Foundation Studies Alejandro Borsani

Containment Field 2
Moore Terrace
a 12 x 30-foot acrylic on vinyl mesh piece by Martin Smick (MFA 09 PT)

Chace Center coat room, 1st floor
an animated film by Film/Animation/Video Professor Amy Kravitz

on the riverfront between Market Square + Washington Place
sound art by Foundation Studies Program Head Shawn Greenlee (BFA 96 PR)

Pneumatic Masonry No. 2
on the river next to Market Square
a new inflatable installation by Pneuhaus artists August Lehrecke (BFA 14 FD), Matthew Muller (BFA 14 FD) and Levi Bedall

Hardu Keck: Fireman’s Fountain

3:45–4:45 pm
riverfront between Park Place + Steeple Street
a fountain created by water from fire truck hoses, originally conceived by the late RISD professor and provost Hardu Keck MFA 64 PT

Plantón Móvil

4 pm
starting at Roger Williams National Memorial

Lucia Monge (MFA 15 SC) from the Nature Lab leads a mobilization of living plants along North Main Street

Animation Feast

4 + 7 pm

Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center

20 North Main Street, 1st floor
Enjoy screenings of short animated films by Film/ Animation/Video students and alumni. The 4 pm screening of Angel Food Cake is a grouping of shorts suitable for young children, whereas the 7 pm show, Devil’s Food Cake, is more appropriate for adult audiences.

RISD DNA: The First 25 Years

5:30 – 6:30 pm
Metcalf Auditorium, 1st floor
, Chace Center

20 North Main Street
Adam Silverman (BArch 88) embodies the creatively flexible RISD graduate. After majoring in Architecture, he went on to cofound a successful fashion label, earned an MBA and now works as an independent studio artist whose ceramics are exhibited around the world.


6 – 8:30 pm
Market Square
a new video installation (12-minute loop) by Film/Animation/Video Department Head Dennis Hlynsky (BFA 74 FAV)

Still: Moving

6 – 8:30 pm
Gelman Gallery window facing South Main Street
2nd floor, Chace Center, 20 North Main Street

a digital video loop by Scott Brower [BFA 13 GD] from the Photography course Still: Moving


after 6 pm
Market House window, 2nd floor
Market Square
a one-minute animation loop by Associate Professor of Film/Animation/Video Agnieszka Woznicka

Cut to the Chace

6:45 pm
Chace Center plaza
20 North Main Street
a timelapse video of the building of the Chace Center by Film/Animation/Video Professor John Terry

Cannibal Ramblers

6 – 7 pm

Market Square
This Providence-based blues band features Professor of Foundation Studies Mark Milloff on slide guitar, Kyle Anderson doing vocals, Erik Jerominek playing drums, buzz saw and bass, and Bryan Christopher Minto on the atmospheric harmonium.

Last Good Tooth

7 – 8 pm

Benefit Street
Catch more great music from Last Good Tooth, with Penn Sultan (BFA 10 PR) on vocals and guitar, Kevin Sullivan (BFA 10 GD) on bass, Arthur Kapp on drums and Morgan Eve Swain on fiddle.

Lightning Bolt

8 – 9 pm

Benefit Street
The afterparty wraps up with a high-energy performance by the well-loved duo of Brian Gibson (BFA 98 IL) and Brian Chippendale (RISD 97 PR).

Locally sourced food and libations (cash bar, 21+) will be available. Food trucks are on site from 6–7 pm.

For more information on the weekend’s events – including RISD Craft, a juried sales exhibition of alumni and student work – visit