RISD in Rome & the American Academy
RISD Collaborates with the American Academy in Rome (AAR)
Since Rhode Island School of Design’s foundation of the European Honors Program (EHP) in September 1960 under the leadership of faculty members Gilbert Franklin, FAAR’49, and Jack Massey, FAAR’61, there has been a bond of mutual purpose connecting the Academy and the EHP. Founded with the intention of making the kind of cultural and creative experiences provided by the Rome Prize Fellowship available to undergraduate students, EHP has offered a unique opportunity for independent reflection and personal growth to over 1500 undergraduates since its inception.
AAR and EHP have always collaborated closely. Many EHP faculty and students have been Rome Prize Fellows, including Caroline J. Goodson FAAR’03, Jackie Saccoccio, FAAR’05, Marie Lorenz, FAAR’06, and Carl D'Alvia, FAAR’13. FAARs have also been regular visitors to the seat of the EHP at Palazzetto Cenci as visiting scholars, artists and short-term critics to complement the program. In Spring 2014 AAR Fellows Polly Apfelbaum, Reynold Reynolds, Ross Altheimer, Catherine Wagner and Dan Hurlin all contributed via critiques and lectures to the EHP.
As Professor of Painting and EHP Chief Critic Roland Belhumeur explained, independent study is critical to the pedagogical philosophy of the EHP. “What we do should remain field oriented and never become classroom based. The structure should not violate the concept of independent study, which is the hallmark of the EHP.” Opportunities for EHP students to intern with Academy Fellows have provided precisely this kind of valuable hands-on, first person experience. This spring EHP students Christine Minkyung Chung, Aashman Goghari, Alexandra Keck, Janelle Flanagan and Yin Liu worked with Rome Prize Fellows in their studios at the Academy.
Interning with Catie Newell and Dan Hurlin, architecture student Yin Liu explained that in addition to gaining valuable professional presentation skills, her work with the Fellows, “helped me to understand a better understanding of my profession” and “build up a more concrete direction for my personal and career growth.”
Architecture student Aashman Goghari found the weekly talks of AAR Fellows to be “fascinating,” often prompting “interesting critical discussions.” Of his internship experience with Thomas Kelley, FAAR’14, Goghari remarked, “he taught me to focus on one thing and do it well.”
Collaborations between the AAR and EHP allow Fellows and students to inspire each other in the laboratory of independent exploration and creative discovery that is Rome.