Art School(ed): Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

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The RISD Board of Trustees and their search committee have been working since former President John Maeda’s abrupt departure in December 2014 to find the next president of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Today, Chairman of the Board Michael Spalter announced that current interim president Rosanne Somerson has been named RISD’s 17th permanent president. In Michael Spalter’s school-wide email, he listed Somerson’s many qualifications given the RISD path she has paved for herself, “having previously risen from [Industrial Design] student to alumna and practicing designer to part-time faculty member to full-time faculty member to graduate program director to co-founder and long-time department head of our Furniture Design department to interim associate provost to interim provost to provost to interim president.”

Somerson can finally get comfortable in that historic 21-room, three-story house on Bowen Street. To learn more about RISD’s new and fearless leader, check out

The Who once said, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” and that is music to RISD’s ears!

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Art School(ed): The RISD spin on BergeMash, introducing MaedaMash

Historically, Blog has followed up the first few weeks of the semester with a riveting game of BergeMash. What is BergeMash, you might ask? Named after Brown’s beloved (albeit former) Dean of the College, BergeMash fuses Dean Katherine Bergeron’s musical and academic interests into an amusing and intellectually stimulating game. The task is simple: Open up your iTunes (or Spotify or Blogify). Pick a song. Take the title, add a colon to the end, and turn it into a Brown class offered by a specific department.

Brown has recently been graced with the presence of a new Dean of the College, Maud Mandel, and her Judaic interests don’t exactly translate into a game about the American musical canon. For the sake of tradition, the name of this game will probably not change to MaudMash or MandelMash, despite its alliterative appeal. But the game can be played with a new spin: BergeMash has never been altered for RISD courses…until now. Enter MaedaMash, named after RISD’s former president John Maeda who quickly left his post last year for a swanky position at the Silicon Valley firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Apparently the former Prez inspired a trend called Intelligent Dance Music back in the day, and so we play this round with a glass raised to you, Maeda:


  • INDUSTRIAL DESIGN 3220 — Bugatti: Interface Design for the Modern Automobile 
  • LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE 1670 — Hard to Live in the City: Urban Planning for the 99%
  • TEXTILES 2350 — Furr: The Pleasures and Terrors of Plush Materials 
  • FILM/ANIMATION/VIDEO 1932 — Life in Technicolor: Cinema after the Advent of Color Film 
  • PRINTMAKING 1962 — Marilyn: Silkscreening American Icons after Warhol
  • PAINTING 1660 — Neon Trees: Painting En Plein Air
  • HISTORY OF ART AND VISUAL CULTURE 2370 — Rich Girl: Exploring Peggy Guggenheim‘s Collection

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Art School(ed): President John Maeda to leave RISD

maeda at risd

Today, President John Maeda announced that he will be leaving RISD at the end of this semester (read: in two weeks). Maeda will conclude his six-year term, and move on to be the first Design Partner at the Silicon Valley firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in January 2014. He will also chair the eBay Design Advisory Board. When RISD students return to the steeper sections of College Hill on January 6th, 2014 for Wintersession, John Maeda will have departed… so get your selfies in with Maeda now, before it’s too late! Here is the video Maeda e-mailed to the RISD community this afternoon, along with his official announcement:

Maeda concluded his campus-wide e-mail with heartwarming last words: Continue Reading