Today I took a day trip away from New York, a good 8 hours on bus total, to Providence, Rhode Island. I had a meeting set up there with the current Head of Photography for the MFA Photo program at RISD, Steven Smith, as well as a new student into the MFA program, Frances Denny (who I must say is the nicest, most welcoming, friendly person i’ve met here in America so far). Frances and Steve talked me through the MFA Program, outlining its courses, thesis, expectations, TA and anything else you might want to know. One thing I found interesting about their program is the joint classes you can take with Brown University (the campuses are literally right next to each other) and the ‘Winter Session’ (which from my understanding is like Summer School) in which you can take classes that you wouldn’t normally find yourself taking during the semester due to time constraints and pressure to produce work. They have classes like glass blowing, creative writing for your thesis, art as a profession (I think it’s called- you go to galleries and studios in New York) and so many more.. which sounds incredible to supplement both your studio and theoretical practice while you’re there.
The city itself is a strange, after being in New York, I had expected it to be similar.. yet it was a weird mix of large buildings and quiet streets. The place is beautiful and filled with youths (from the two universities obviously) but so much of a change and a nice breather to be able to sit on the side of the street and take a rest rather than the hustle and bustle of getting from A to B like New York has.
Frances also showed me the Nature Lab, which I think is where RISD is starting to outshine the other programs- besides its photographic facilities (which are pretty thorough), it also has so much more to offer. The Nature Lab is by far my favourite- a room full of both human and animal skeletons, taxidermy animals, live Snakes and Chinchillas (? I think it was a Chinchilla), digital microscopes to view slides of ..all sorts of things! The best part is- a lot of what you see in there, can also be taken out on loan. Incredible isn’t it?
I’ve learnt a lot about the school, and the other programs from prospective students, so it’s quite interesting to see how an MFA could sculpt my current work.. the big question is whether or not i’d be ready. I’ll be following the school closely from now on though, and definitely start reading and actively producing work again.
The Bus tunnel that takes you from RISD to Brown
RISD Art Store. They also have a hardware store too!
The Masters studio building. Each student gets their own studio!
Home! (to NY)