« more RISD stories
Maharam Fosters Creative Infusion
Although RISD students won’t actually intern at Maharam, the NYC-based textile company is helping them to bring design thinking to nonprofits and government agencies.
In recognition of RISD’s commitment to broadening the reach
of art and design thinking, the New York-based textile company Maharam will fund a new summer internship
opportunity for up to 10 RISD students each year for the coming five years.
The Maharam STEAM Fellowship for the Advancement of the
Arts and Design in Government will provide stipends of up to $5,000 each for
internships with a government agency or nonprofit organization anywhere in the
US. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for the fellowship, with
stipends awarded based on the strength of the internship proposals that students
initiate themselves. While intentionally broad in scope, the focus is meant to
be on the application of art and design thinking to public policy issues.
“Maharam believes that creativity demonstrated through the
arts and design will play an increasingly critical role in America’s ongoing
efforts to remain a dominant global force through both culture and commerce, and
that, given the realities of available funding and the politics associated with
it, private sector participation in fostering this infusion is vital,” says
Michael Maharam, the company’s CEO.
“This is a fantastic and rare opportunity for art and
design students to bring their creative talents to problem-solving on a broader
scale as critical thinkers and makers,” notes Greg Victory, director of RISD’s Career Center. “By designing their
own internships, students will be able to pursue the areas that interest them
most as they explore the ways art and design thinking can impact real-world
Now that a call for proposals has been issued to all
students, staff members in the Career Center are helping to advise applicants on potential
placements and how to design meaningful experiences. Once the selection
committee – comprised of two faculty members and representatives from Student
Affairs and the Career Center – reviews all application materials, the first
fellowship recipients will be announced on April 30. As part of the program, winners
will blog about their experiences throughout the summer and will make a final
report to Maharam about the value of their internships and how the program
might be strengthened.
The RISD/Maharam partnership supports the college’s broader
STEM to STEAM initiative, which emphasizes the importance of adding Art
to a national agenda focused on STEM education (Science, Technology,
Engineering, Math). Under the leadership of President John Maeda, RISD has launched a series of
partnerships and collaborations designed to bridge the research and creative disciplines
and champion the role of artists and designers in global innovation.
Maharam is a fourth-generation family business and the
leading textiles resource for architects and interior designers. The Maharam
Design Studio, where six RISD alumni work as designers, takes an in-depth approach
to the exploration of pattern, material and technique. In addition, long-term
collaborations with creative leaders such as Dutch industrial designer Hella
Jongerius, British fashion designer Paul Smith and illustrator Maira Kalman introduce fresh perspectives to the world of textile design. Maharam embraces a rigorous and holistic commitment to
design, and is the recipient of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s Design
Patron Award (2007) for its longstanding support of educational and cultural
initiatives in the world of design.
, partnerships + collaborations
, public engagement