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RISD Arms Class of 2011 with Artrepreneur Kits, Including Etsy Fellowship and Square


PROVIDENCE, RI – For the second consecutive year, Rhode Island School of Design [RISD] is arming its graduates with “artrepreneur kits.” This practical parting gift includes tools and resources to help these highly creative thinkers to maximize their potential for innovation and explore entrepreneurial possibilities.

As part of the kit, Etsy is offering the first-ever Etsy RISD Fellowship to the 2011 graduate whose shop on the recently launched RISD Etsy Team Page shows the most promise. The winner will receive a $1,500 grant to attend Hello Etsy: A Summit on Small Business and Sustainability, which takes place from September 17–18, 2011 in Berlin, Germany.  The Etsy summit is a hands-on gathering for small business owners who want to connect with their peers, get advice on how to establish successful independent businesses and be part of the movement to build human-scale economies.

Square, Inc. is again providing Squares and activation codes for graduating students, which enables credit card payments to be processed anywhere via a small square card reader that plugs directly into a mobile phone input jack. In 2010 RISD was the first college to distribute the newly-launched hardware/software combination.

Also, Behance, the world’s leading platform for creative professionals, is giving graduates free six-month accounts to Prosite, its newly launched online portfolio site. This simple yet sophisticated platform offers unlimited hosting and unlimited project space, with no programming skills required, for $11 per month. Behance is also including an Action Journal for each grad.

YouSendIt, Inc., the global leader in secure digital content delivery, is providing each RISD graduate with a 2GB account free for three months, followed by a service discount.  YouSendIt allows the transfer of files too large to send via email, eliminating the need for cumbersome FTP sites and expensive overnight couriers.

“A new kind of art+design-led leadership is needed to innovate in the current global economy,” notes RISD President John Maeda. “Artists and designers bring their intuitive, creative thinking to a broad array of fields, and with our Artrepreneur Kit, we are providing them with just a few of the tools and resources that can help launch their work into the public spectrum and help them make a living, in whatever way they choose.”

In addition to the Artrepreneur Kit for graduates, RISD helps students to build a solid foundation for financial literacy, career preparation and market savvy while they are still on campus. “We have been working diligently to create valuable opportunities for students to get both real-world and experiential career preparation,” said Raj Bellani, RISD’s associate provost for Student Affairs. This division, which includes both the Office of Student Life and the Career Center, also works closely with Academic Affairs to develop co-curricular programs that complement the academic experience at RISD.

Charles Adler, a co-founder the of online funding site Kickstarter, visited RISD earlier this year to speak to students about the joys and challenges of entrepreneurship. At the presentation, he was joined by Ben Kaufman of Quirky and Vanessa Bertozzi of Etsy. “Our purpose is to help you establish a real, human connection with people who will support you,” Adler said.

Shortly after the event, RISD teamed up with Kickstarter to help students and alumni increase funding and gain visibility for their creative projects. The site allows creative people in every genre to post a description of their project along with their target fundraising goals as a means of soliciting micro-funding from a multitude of backers to make their endeavor a reality. The new section of Kickstarter, called curated pages, creates a sub-section of the site dedicated solely to projects by RISD faculty, students and alumni, bringing together projects that were previously scattered throughout the site. The RISD Etsy Team Page followed shortly after.

Other recent creative career initiatives include RISD Continuing Education’s The Business of Art + Design – seminars, lectures, workshops to support entrepreneurs; Amy Whittaker’s studio Paint by Numbers: Economics as a Studio Art Practice; and a collaboration with the American Craft Council to host Artonomics: New Tools for Artists and Designers, a free-form symposium that explored opportunities emerging from new modes of communication, marketing and distribution.


About Rhode Island School of Design 

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has earned a worldwide reputation as the preeminent art and design college in the country. Today, with more than 26,000 alumni, the college enrolls approximately 1,900 undergraduates and 400 graduate students from the U.S. and almost 50 countries, offering degree programs in the fine arts, architecture, and design disciplines, and art education.  Academic programs include research and design initiatives, the exploration of art criticism and contemporary cultural concerns, as well as international exchange programs. Each year, RISD hosts prominent and accomplished artists, critics, and authors to its campus.  Included within the college is The RISD Museum of Art, which houses a world-class collection of art objects from Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome and art of all periods from Asia, Europe and the Americas, as well as the latest in contemporary art.  For more information, visit or 

The façade of the Chace Center, a new multipurpose hub that opened
in 2008, offers an interesting contrast to the historic campus
buildings that surround it.