Rhode Island School of Design (abbreviated RISD, pronounced /ˈrɪzdiː/) is a fine arts and design college located in Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1877. Located at the base of College Hill, the RISD campus is contiguous with the Brown University campus. The two institutions share social, academic, and community resources and offer joint courses. Applicants are required to complete RISD's infamous three-drawing "hometest", one of which involves the trademark RISD bicycle drawing. The school consistently ranks as the number one fine arts college in the United States.
It includes about 350 faculty and curators, and 400 staff members. About 1,880 undergraduates and 370 graduate students enroll from all over the United States and 50 other countries. It offers 16 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate majors. RISD is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), a consortium of thirty-six leading art schools in the United States. It also maintains over 80,000 works of art in the RISD Museum.
The Centennial Women were a group formed to raise funds for Rhode Island's exhibit at the Centennial Exposition in 1876. The group had $1,675 left over after the exposition, and, inspired by foreign exhibits on design and interior decorating, Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf persuaded the group to donate the money to found what would become the Rhode Island School of Design. The school was incorporated in 1877 and opened its doors the following fall. Metcalf directed the school until her death in 1895. Her daughter, Eliza Greene Metcalf Radeke, then took over until her death in 1931.
The Rhode Island General Assembly ratified “An Act to Incorporate the Rhode Island School of Design” on March 22, 1877. “For the purpose of aiding in the cultivation of the arts of design.” Over the next 129 years, the following original by-laws set forth these following primary objectives:
First. The instruction of artisans in drawing, painting, modeling, and designing, that they may successfully apply the principles of Art to the requirements of trade and manufacture.
Second. The systematic training of students in the practice of Art, in order that they may understand its principles, give instruction to others, or become artists.
Third. The general advancement of public Art Education, by the exhibition of works of Art and of Art school studies, and by lectures on Art.