RISD and the Providence area host a variety of resources that contribute to a memorable art and design experience. From Westminster Street’s eclectic shops to the RISD Museum of Art, there’s opportunity to scout for the perfect inspiration for your wardrobe or a course assignment.
Studios + Facilities
RISD is recognized worldwide for its comprehensive studio facilities and extensive equipment. Facilities in over 40 buildings include highly specialized computer labs; jewelry, apparel, textile and printmaking studios; and woodworking shops devoted to industrial design, furniture design and sculpture.
Museum, Library and Nature Lab
RISD Museum houses seven curatorial departments with approximately 100,000 objects dating from 3700 BCE to the present. Highlights include one of the country’s finest collections of costume and textiles, with more than 26,000 objects; the world’s largest collection of Gorham silver, housed in the first museum wing devoted to American decorative arts; a 12th-century seated Buddha, one of the largest Japanese statues in the US; and significant collections of ancient Egyptian objects, Impressionist paintings, contemporary British art and fine examples of 20th- and 21st-century design. Learn more.
Fleet Library at RISD
the RISD library is one of the oldest independent art college libraries in the country. Its circulating collection of more than 150,000 volumes offers unusual depth and richness in the areas of art, architecture, design and photography. The collection provides strong historical and contemporary perspectives, and specialized materials in landscape architecture, ceramics, textiles and jewelry support upper-level research. RISD’s specialized library is also noted for its artists’ books collection, its rare books, some 400 periodical subscriptions and collections of outstanding visual resources. Learn more.
Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab
RISD’s Nature Lab is a unique resource for examining, exploring and understanding the patterns, structures and interactions of design in nature. Its collections – along with specialized microscopes and other equipment for studying them – include more than 80,000 specimens and other items of natural history. The nature lab also houses live animals and plants, a natural history reference library and clipping file, and archives of slides, tapes, videos and x-ray photographs. Learn more.
The risd:store carries a variety of art supplies, silkscreening, printmaking supplies, etching supplies, decorative papers, drawing papers, mounting boards and bookbinding supplies. The store also carries office supplies, digital supplies, film and video, photography, text and trade books and convenience Items, as well as a large selection of RISD-imprinted clothing and gifts. Learn more.
The risd:store 3D stocks a variety of sculpture supplies as well as general hardware store items. The store sells sterling silver in various forms along with other jewelry supplies. Plywood, hardwood, plexiglass, glass, and metal rod can be cut to size for next-day pickup.
Providence Place Mall is within walking distance, and Walmart and Home Depot are a short bus ride away. Learn more.
Neighborhood + Surrounding Area
College Hill, on Providence’s historic East Side, is one of the most picturesque sections of the city, home to the expansive campuses of RISD and neighboring Brown University. RISD’s extensive facilities span Providence’s central rivers — home to Waterplace Park and WaterFire, a recurring after-dark festival of light and music — and include several notably restored historic buildings in the city’s vibrant downtown.
RISD’s neighborhood offers a variety of restaurants, cafés, shops, bookstores and art cinemas. If you like music and theater, you can enjoy great performances at popular local venues, including the nationally acclaimed Trinity Repertory Company and the Providence Performing Arts Center. Local restaurants range from ethnically rich neighborhood eateries to world-renowned, five-star dining establishments. All of these options are within walking distance of the college.
While Rhode Island is only 48 miles long and 37 miles wide, it is blessed with almost 500 miles of enchanting coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and Narragansett Bay. Rhode Island is also convenient to such popular summer destinations as Newport, Block Island, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, which makes it an ideal jumping-off point for family vacations, or a perfect vacation destination in itself. Traversable in little more than an hour, the state offers both a welcome retreat from the bustle of Boston and New York, and easy access to these cities by road, rail, bus and airplane. In short, it’s a great place to be — especially in the summer.