Sunday, February 25

Rhode Island School of Design Partners with the U.S. Department of State’s Office of ART in Emb assies

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Collaboration On Art for Moroccan Embassy Kicks Off with Wintersession Course Led by Renowned Artist and RISD Alumnus Jim Drain

PROVIDENCE, R.I.–(EON: Enhanced Online News)–Visiting artist Jim Drain(RISD BFA 98/Sculpture) is leading Art in Embassies: Morocco, a Wintersession 2012 studio course at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), as the first phase of a multiyear partnership between RISD and the U.S. Department of State’s Office of ART in Embassies (AIE), made possible through the generous support of RISD alumna and Board Vice Chair Lisa Pevaroff (RISD BFA 83/Textile Design).

“We are approaching this installation not from specific disciplines, but rather from a materials and cultural approach. The crossover between disciplines is valuable, as each student brings a specific interest and expertise to the ideation process”

This collaborative project has been designed to promote cross-cultural exchange, and to recognize and nurture the talents of the next generation of professional artists. Ultimately, the collaboration will yield a large-scale outdoor work of art for the U.S. Embassy building currently in the design phase for Rabat, Morocco.

Drain is leading RISD students in the exploration and research of the rich culture in Morocco, examining the deeper meaning and significance behind the surface and visual culture. The class has also taken a close look at AIE’s mission and objectives; at the architectural design for this particular embassy so that the site-specific piece truly fits within the unique plans for the structure; and will work with visiting textile artist, Soukaina Aziz El Idrissi from Morocco. Dean of Fine Arts Anais Missakian, a professor of Textiles, and Interim Associate Provost Patricia Phillips, a professor in Graduate Studies, are also involved in the process.

“We are approaching this installation not from specific disciplines, but rather from a materials and cultural approach. The crossover between disciplines is valuable, as each student brings a specific interest and expertise to the ideation process,” notes Drain. “In this course I am working with the class on something with real consequence, and we have an incredible opportunity to have real input into the nuts and bolts of the work itself. It is a challenging way to do a commission, but one that I find very thrilling. Together, we are focusing on how to incorporate materials in new and unorthodox ways, building models, researching and discussing issues relating to cultural diplomacy.”

The work will continue beyond the initial studio, culminating in the debut of the artwork at the State Department’s 50th anniversary celebration on November 30 in Washington, D.C., where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will acknowledge the important work that AIE has done to enhance foreign relations through visual art at the Department of State; and ultimately, the permanent installation of the piece at the embassy in Morocco once the building is completed in 2014–15.

”The mission of the ART in Embassies is to advance our nation’s cultural diplomacy through the international exchange of visual arts, culture and ideas,” explained Chief Curator Virginia Shore, ART in Embassies. “While AIE has worked with more than 10,000 artists, museums, collectors, universities, and dealers over the past 50 years, this project with RISD is one of the most involved collaborations to date. Led by artist Jim Drain, along with ten RISD students, this project is engaging talented artists from both the U.S. and Morocco. As part of our 50th anniversary, this project is representative of the culmination of our collective efforts, and one worth celebrating.”

AIE Director Beth Dozoretz noted “the generosity of Lisa Pevaroff enabled AIE to further realize one of our goals to work with RISD and the students. This collaboration is not Pevaroff’s first involvement with AIE. An artist in her own right, she currently has work on exhibition at the US Embassy, Montenegro.”

“As a participating artist in ART in Embassies, I was very excited to be able to involve RISD students in the process,” said Pevaroff. “Of course, I’m especially pleased that the studio is being led by a fellow RISD graduate, Jim Drain.”

About Rhode Island School of Design

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned an international reputation as the leading college of art and design in the United States. Approximately 2,400 students from around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 studio majors. RISD is known for its phenomenal faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on, studio-based approach to learning – one in which critical thinking informs making works by hand. Required courses in the liberal arts provide an essential complement to studio work, enabling graduates to become critical and informed individuals eager to engage with the world. Through the accomplishments of its 26,000 alumni, the college champions the vital role artists and designers play in satisfying the global demand for innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum of Art help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information,

About ART in Embassies

Established in 1963, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations’ office of ART in Embassies (AIE) plays a vital role in our nation’s public diplomacy through a culturally expansive mission of temporary exhibitions, permanent collections, artist exchanges and residencies, and publications. AIE produces temporary exhibitions of original art by American and host-country artists, on loan from a variety of sources, for the representational spaces of U.S. chief-of-mission residences worldwide. Equally important is the Program’s commitment to create permanent art collections for all newly built U.S. embassies, consulates, and annexes. These exhibitions and collections form cultural connections through contemporary art works by artists from the U.S. and the host countries. Related artist exchange programs establish more deeply rooted ties through two-way dialogues structured around the visual arts. AIE provides international audiences with a sense of the quality, scope, and diversity of American and host country art and culture, building lasting cross-cultural bonds.


Jaime Marland, 401-427-6954


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