Alumni at Work

You’ll join a remarkable network of graduate alumni making impacts in a diverse range of fields. Whether they are collaborating across disciplines to start an environmentally-focused arts collective or leading a globally renowned design firm, our graduates continue to pursue the inquiry they began at RISD through dynamic careers with expansive, influential reach.

Workstead

Workstead

Stefanie Brechbuehler MArch 06 Architecture, Robert Andrew Highsmith MArch 08, Ryan Mahoney MArch 06​

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Workstead is a design studio founded in 2009 by Architecture alumni Stefanie Brechbuehler and Robert Highsmith (fellow RISD graduate Ryan Mahoney joined the project shortly after it had been established). From their studios in Brooklyn, NY and Charleston, SC they focus on architectural and interior design, lighting, furniture and exhibitions. In 2012 Workstead designed the public spaces for the highly acclaimed Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. The studio's lighting can be found in showrooms around the world or online. Their installations can be found in the collections of Barneys, Facebook, Levi's, Google, Yelp, the Harpoon Brewery and in private residences all over the world. They are currently working on commercial and residential projects in New York and Charleston.

Shahzia Sikander

Shahzia Sikander

MFA 95 Painting/Printmaking​

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A 2006 MacArthur Award winner, Shahzia Sikander received her BFA in 1991 from the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan and her MFA from RISD in 1995. Pakistani-born and internationally recognized, Sikander's takes Indo-Persian miniature painting as a point of departure for her pioneering practice. Sikander’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others.

Doreen Garner

Doreen Garner

MFA 14 Glass

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Doreen Garner is a Brooklyn-based artist from Philadelphia, PA. She holds a BFA in Glass from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University and an MFA in Glass from RISD. A 2016 Artist in Residence at Pioneerworks, Garner is currently practicing as a sculptor and "inscriber of flesh." Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Antenna Gallery in New Orleans, Essex Flowers in New York and Vox Populi in Philadelphia. Garner also recently completed residencies at LMCC Workspace Program, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Abrons Art Center.


Michael Rock

Design credit: 2x4

Michael Rock

MFA 84 Graphic Design

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Michael Rock is a founding partner and creative director at the leading global design consultancy 2x4, where he leads a wide range of projects for clients such as Barneys, Prada, Nike, Kanye West, Harvard and CCTV. He also directs the Graphic Architecture Project at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and writes design-focused articles for a wide range of publications. A past recipient of the Rome Prize in Design from the American Academy in Rome, Rock now serves on the academy’s board.

The Wassaic Project

The Wassaic Project

Bowie Barnett-Zunino MFA 09 Sculpture, Jeff Barnett-Winsby MFA 06 Photography, Adam Eckstrom MFA 05 Painting and Lauren Was MFA 04 Sculpture​

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A 501c3 non-profit organization, the Wassaic Project was established to provide a genuine and intimate context for art making by strengthening the community of Wassaic, NY through inspiration, promotion and creation of contemporary visual and performing art. In the six years the Wassaic Project has been operating, its annual summer festival attendance has grown from 500 to 4,000; the exhibitions program has grown to include three or more exhibitions per year in over 8,000 square feet of gallery space; the guest curator program has worked with 21 curators; the education program has started collaborating with local school systems; and the Wassaic Project has been seamlessly integrated into the community and architecture of Wassaic. The Project has created collaborative programming with MASS MoCA, Recession Arts, the Invisible Dog, Galapagos Art Space, New Amsterdam Records, The Aldrich Museum, Allegra Laviola Gallery, Columbia University, the New School and CUNY Hostos.

Ben & Aja Blanc

Ben & Aja Blanc

Ben Blanc MFA 04 Furniture Design and Aja Blanc MA 04 Teaching + Learning in Art + Design​

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Ben & Aja Blanc produce limited-edition furniture, lighting and objects. Based in Providence, RI the studio is committed to creating objects produced in collaboration with distinguished artisans and makers. Ben is currently a faculty member in the Furniture Design department at RISD. With a background in the fine arts and experience as a museum professional (including work at the Yale University Art Gallery and the RISD Museum), Aja brings a unique perspective to the design process. Their work and design process reflect a mutual pursuit of beauty through creation of form and refinement of material, along with an attraction to collection and curation. Their work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Vogue, Elle Décor and The New York Times.

Arlene Shechet

Arlene Shechet

MFA 78 Ceramics

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Dividing her time between studios in Manhattan and upstate New York, Arlene Shechet creates sculpture from clay, but keeps her hand in a variety of materials—including plaster, paper pulp and glass. Her ceramic works have been featured in Art in America, and New York Times art critic Roberta Smith calls her work “sexy, devout, ugly and beautiful all at the same time.” Shechet serves as an occasional visiting critic at RISD and credits her experiences here with exposing her to “a lot of materials and processes, ideas and images—and perhaps most importantly, conversations.”

Annie Evelyn

Annie Evelyn

MFA 07 Furniture Design

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Annie Evelyn is a furniture maker who makes alternatively upholstered chairs from hard materials like wood, metal and cement. She received both her BFA and MFA from RISD and has taught at RISD, Parsons-The New School, Anderson Ranch, Penland School of Crafts and others. In 2011 she received a Windgate Furniture residency at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Center for Turning and Furniture Design. Her work has been featured on the cover of American Craft Magazine and published in Laura Housely’s book, The Independent Design Guide. Evelyn is currently in her third year as an artist in residence at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and most recently was awarded The John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship.

Tamara Kaplan

Tamara Kaplan

MA/MAT 00 Teaching + Learning in Art + Design​

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Tamara Kaplan built on her BFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University by simultaneously pursuing two master's degrees in Art Education at RISD. In 2000, she began working at New Urban Arts, a nationally recognized community arts studio for urban high school students and emerging artists in Providence. New Urban Arts marks its 20th year in 2017. Its mission to build a vital community that empowers young people as artists and leaders to develop a creative practice they can sustain throughout their lives is more important than ever. In 2013, Kaplan earned the RISD Alumni Association's Art and Education award for her work at New Urban Arts.

Spencer Finch

Spencer Finch

MFA 89 Sculpture

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Spencer Finch's extensive international solo exhibitions and projects include A Certain Slant of Light at The Morgan Library & Museum, New York and The Skies can’t keep their secret at the Turner Contemporary in the United Kingdom. Recent major projects include Painting Air, an installation made for the artist’s 2012 survey at the RISD Museum, in which more than 100 panels of suspended glass of varying reflectivity refract and distort an abstract mural inspired by the colors of Claude Monet's garden at Giverny. Perhaps most seen is The River That Flows Both Ways, an installation on New York’s High Line in which an existing series of windows is transformed with 700 individual panes of glass representing the water conditions on the Hudson River over 700 minutes in a single day.

Reem Al Thani

Reem Al Thani

MDES 15 Interior Architecture

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Reem Al Thani graduated from RISD in 2015 with a Master of Design degree in Adaptive Reuse. She is now head of exhibition design with the newly developed exhibitions department at Qatar Museums and is responsible for design and production of temporary and permanent exhibitions for all affiliated museums and exhibition venues. Most recently, Al Thani has been growing Qatar Museums' design department and developing policy and procedures for exhibitions while also working on the management, planning, design and implementation of several exhibitions, including the recent Dia Al-Azzawi: A Retrospective (From 1963 until Tomorrow) at Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art and Al Riwaq Exhibition Hall and Fragments: An Exhibition by Mahmoud Obaidi at katara art center.

Biome Arts

Photo credit: Biome Arts/CC BY-SA

Biome Arts

David Kim MFA 14 Digital + Media, Chihao Yo MFA 14 Digital + Media, Lucia Monge MFA 15 Sculpture​

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A collective of artists, designers, engineers, biologists and activists, Biome Arts collaborates to produce art that anticipates the next global paradigm: sustainable, open-source, commons-based culture. The group, which includes three RISD graduates, seeks alternatives to the destruction of the environment, to copyright regimes that stifle innovation and to property regimes that diminish common space.

Malcolm Rio

Malcolm Rio

MArch 15 Architecture

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Malcolm Rio is a graphic and architectural designer from Amherst, MA. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in philosophy and a Bachelor of Fine Art in graphic design from Towson University, he joined RISD's graduate program in Architecture where his thesis work explored the overlap between cybernetics, the structuring of bodies and architectural space. While at RISD, he was recognized with a 2015 Alpha Rho Chi award for his leadership, professional merit and promise. Rio currently teaches graphic design, architectural design, and foundational studies at Maryland Institute College of Art as the school's inaugural AICAD faculty fellow.