RISD Celebrates Founders Day — Museum Free

(3.24) The Rhode Island School of Design was founded in 1877 by a small group of women more than forty years before women had gained the right to vote. In honor of the school’s Founders Day celebration, the RISD Museum will charge no admission this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (The museum is always free on Sundays actually.)

In 1877, the Rhode Island Women’s Centennial Commission, led by Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf, had a surplus of $1,675. They decided to use the funds to found an independent school of art and design (instead of building a public fountain—one of the other options on the table), a bold and somewhat controversial choice at the time. Despite the fact that only a few such schools existed in the US at that time and many people publicly doubted that the endeavor could be successful, Metcalf and her peers forged ahead.

Check out these exhibitions on display now, including Nancy Elizabeth Prophet: I Will Not Budge and Inch. Born in 1890 in Rhode Island to a Narragansett father and a Black mother, Prophet was RISD’s first documented graduate of color, completing her degree in 1918. More info here. The exhibit remains up (in the Metcalf Gallery) through August 4.

Think what this town would be like without RISD. Thank you Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf.

Free, Friday thru Sunday, March 22 – 24, RISD Museum, 20 North Main Street, (directions)

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