RISD’s Ongoing Mission

The mission of Rhode Island School of Design, through its college and museum, is to educate its students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, to discover and transmit knowledge and to make lasting contributions to a global society through critical thinking, scholarship and innovation.

Original Mission Statement 

On March 22, 1877, the Rhode Island General Assembly ratified “An Act to Incorporate the Rhode Island School of Design.” The corporation, comprised of a forward-thinking group of men and women, artists and business leaders, educators and politicians, was formed “for the purpose of aiding in the cultivation of the arts of design.” The original bylaws set forth the following key objectives for RISD:

First. The instruction of artisans in drawing, painting, modeling, and designing, that they may successfully apply the principles of Art to the requirements of trade and manufacture.

Second. The systematic training of students in the practice of Art, in order that they may understand its principles, give instruction to others, or become artists.

Third. The general advancement of public Art Education, by the exhibition of works of Art and of Art school studies, and by lectures on Art.

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RISD has a long history of offering Saturday and after-school classes for children and teens, as this photo from c. 1910 confirms.