Rhode Island School of Design’s Board of Trustees Elects New Members

Ilene Chaiken, Caroline Baumann, Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to serve as Term Trustees; Michael Rock, Stephen Metcalf named Ex Officio Trustees

PROVIDENCE, RI –The Board of Trustees at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is proud to announce the election of Ilene Chaiken, Caroline Baumann and Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to its Board of Trustees.Each of the new trustees will serve a three-year term through May 2021.

“Our new trustees bring a deep commitment, as well as a diverse range of talents, experience and expertise,” said RISD Board Chair Michael Spalter (RISD Parent 22). “The Board is thrilled to welcome them to RISD and looks forward to the ways they will celebrate and advance our magical institution alongside visionary President Rosanne Somerson. We thank them for taking on this new role in service to RISD.”

The experiences and accomplishments of RISD’s new Term Trustees include:

  • Best known for creating the Showtime series The L Word, RISD alumna Ilene Chaiken (Graphic Design 79/RISD Parent 18) recently earned an Emmy, among many other awards, for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. She was also showrunner for the first four seasons of the Golden Globe-nominated Fox series Empire. As an executive producer, Chaiken is still closely involved with these projects and is also developing several new projects for 20th Century Fox Television’s broadcast, cable and television streaming services. In the past, she produced the docu-dramas The Real L Word and The Real L Word Mississippi for Showtime and earned the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary for the latter.
  • As director of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Caroline Baumann spearheaded the museum’s most ambitious capital campaign to date. She also led the recent renovation and expansion of the museum’s home in the historic landmark Carnegie Mansion on New York City’s Museum Mile, transforming it into a dynamic, global resource for building the public’s understanding of design, drawing on the more than 210,000 objects in the museum’s permanent collection. The reimagined Cooper Hewitt features exhibitions that travel the world, groundbreaking interactive museum technologies and a free national design education program for K–12 students. Baumann is a member of the Applied Arts and Design Museum Network, the Royal College of Art USA Board, and the NYCxDesign Steering Committee. In 2015, she was named one of the Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. She served as a panelist for the 2017 US Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale and, most recently, was awarded the rank of Chevalier of France’s Order of Arts and Letters.
  • Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is chair of Qatar Museums, Doha Film Institute and Qatar Leadership. Committed to investing in Qatar’s local community and celebrating its diversity, she uses the visual arts as a catalyst for social development, economic growth and cultural exchange. Her Excellency recognizes a similarity of purpose between her existing commitments and RISD, with its close relationship between the College and the RISD Museum, and wishes to join in encouraging this connection between the arts and education.

The Trustees are also pleased to announced the following:

Current RISD Trustee Board Chair Michael Spalter, re-elected by unanimous vote, will continue his service as chair through May 2021.

RISD alumnus Michael Rock MFA (Graphic Design 84) was appointed to represent the President’s Advisory Alumni Council on the Board in an ex officio role. Rock founded design firm 2x4 in 1993 with fellow alumni Susan Sellers (Graphic Design 89) and Georgianna Stout (Graphic Design 89). A global design consultancy headquartered in New York City with a satellite studio in Beijing, the focus of the group’s work is brand strategy for cultural and commercial clients who value the power of design. The firm was the subject of a solo exhibition at SFMOMA in 2005 and recipient of the 2006 National Design Award. Rock is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Yale University School of Art. In 2016 he helped to establish the 2x4 Endowed Scholarship at RISD.

Stephen Metcalf, long-serving RISD Board member and descendant of RISD’s founding family, was named chair of the Emeriti Trustees. In this role, Metcalf will concurrently hold an ex officio seat on the Board of Trustees and serve as the liaison between the Board and the Emeriti Trustees. (The designation Emeriti Trustee replaces the previous designation Honorary Trustee.)

More information on RISD’s Board of Trustees, including the complete current list of members, can be found here.

About Rhode Island School of Design
The mission of RISD (pronounced "RIZ-dee"), through its college and museum, is to educate 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. Our immersive model of art and design education emphasizes robust liberal arts studies and conceptually driven studio-based learning in full-time bachelor's and master's degree programs across 19 majors. RISD's exceptional faculty foster student growth and development in extensive specialized facilities, enabling students to become confident, cross-disciplinary thinkers and nimble problem-solvers ready to confront the complexities of global practice in the 21st century. More than 27,000 alumni worldwide testify to the impact of a RISD education, exemplifying the vital role artists and designers play in defining global innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit risd.edu and our.risd.edu.