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President’s Letter to the RISD Community Regarding Agreement with Providence


Today Rhode Island School of Design President John Maeda and Mayor Angel Taveras announced an agreement that will benefit both RISD and Providence. The text of President Maeda’s message to the RISD community follows here.

Dear RISD Community,

I am pleased to report that RISD has reached an agreement with the City of Providence to increase the college’s support of the city by $250,000 per year for the next 11 years, in exchange for priority rights to 69 parking spaces convenient to the RISD campus for our community’s use after January. This agreement does not alter the 2003 Memorandum of Understanding, a 20-year commitment under which RISD has already contributed $7.9M in voluntary payments to the city. The new agreement is contingent upon the approval of both the Providence City Council and the RISD Board of Trustees.

While our fiscal contributions are significant, the most fundamental way that RISD contributes to the city is and will continue to be through the cultural vitality and civic engagement of our community; it is difficult to imagine Providence as “The Creative Capital” without RISD. Our faculty, students, alumni and staff form the backbone of Providence’s growing knowledge economy, which is one of the most important ways to improve the financial situation the city faces. Furthermore, last year alone we hosted nearly 12,000 K–12 students at the RISD Museum through free educational programs. Through Project Open Door, we provide extensive art education and mentoring to hundreds of area urban teens. Additionally, our partnership with Hope High School has produced a nationally recognized arts curriculum and provides RISD scholarships for Hope students. Finally, RISD has paid and will continue to pay the city taxes on income-producing properties and fees for various permits and services – $1.7M and $142,000 respectively over the past three years.

A fiscally sound and flourishing Providence is important for RISD’s own continued success, and is the responsibility of all. We remain concerned about Providence’s financial situation and are therefore pleased, at this time, to be able to increase our support of the city in a mutually beneficial way. Nevertheless, this may not always be the case. That is why we hope that Providence and the State of Rhode Island continue to ask the hard questions that will allow the state to find longterm, sustainable solutions to its fiscal problems and continued economic progress.

For additional information on the increased parking inventory, please visit the Parking area of our site.


John Maeda, President

related link:

Press Release from the City of Providence  

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.