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

September 3, 2019

Shepard Fairey, Gabrielle Bullock, Shahzia Sikander, Norman Chan, Michael Rock and William Schweizer to serve as Term Trustees; Donald Choi, Deborah Mankiw named Ex Officio Trustees

PROVIDENCE, RI, - The Board of Trustees at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is proud to announce the election of Shepard Fairey, Gabrielle Bullock, Shahzia Sikander, Norman Chan, Michael Rock and William Schweizer as its newest term trustees. Each will serve a three-year term through May 2022.

“The Board is thrilled to welcome to RISD this new group of esteemed trustees, which includes several extraordinary alumni,” said RISD Board Chair Michael Spalter . “Our newest members embody RISD’s values and they have each made indelible marks on society. We look forward to the ways they will help guide our illustrious institution alongside our visionary President Rosanne Somerson, and we thank them for taking on this important commitment in service to RISD.”

The experiences and accomplishments of RISD’s new term trustees include:

• RISD alumnus Shepard Fairey (BFA 92 Illustration)is a contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, illustrator, DJ and founder of OBEY Giant Art and OBEY Clothing. In 1989, while still a student at RISD, he created the Andre the Giant has a Posse sticker that quickly evolved into the OBEY GIANT street art campaign. Three decades later, Fairey is still in the public eye for his ongoing activist work. Since creating the 2008 Hope portrait of Barack Obama that fueled his campaign and is now in the National Gallery, the artist has collaborated with Amplifier on the We The People series in defense of social justice issues and We The Future, a campaign featuring young leaders from social change movements. To date he has created almost 90 public murals and has work in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art and SFMOMA, among others. He has earned the Muslim Public Affairs Council Voices of Courage Media Award and a Tony Goldman Visionary Artist Award, and currently serves on the board of Brave New Films. Born in Charleston, SC, Fairey now resides in Los Angeles.

• A principal at Perkins&Will, Gabrielle Bullock (BArch 84 Architecture) has been a key player in the firm’s success for nearly three decades, joining the Los Angeles-based firm shortly after graduating from RISD as the second African-American woman to complete the Architecture program. As the firm’s Director of Global Diversity, she oversees its Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement program, which enables her to combine her passion for architecture and social justice to effect positive change. She has led numerous high-profile architectural projects, including the design of the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, she serves on its Equity in Architecture Commission and is also a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects and serves on the boards of the Center for Architecture and Urban Design Los Angeles and the International Interior Design Association.

• Pakistani-born and internationally recognized, Shahzia Sikander’s (MFA 95 Painting/Printmaking) pioneering practice takes classical Indo-Persian miniature painting as its point of departure and challenges the strict formal tropes of the genre by experimenting with scale and various forms of new media. Informed by South Asian, American, Feminist and Muslim perspectives, Sikander has developed a unique, critically charged approach to this time-honored medium – employing its continuous capacity for reinvention to interrogate ideas of language, trade and empire, and migration. Trained as a miniaturist at the National College of Arts, Lahore, where her thesis project, the Scroll, launched what has come to be called the neo-miniature and where she was the first woman to teach miniature painting her works encompass painting, drawing, animation, installation, video and film. Sikander’s innovative work led to survey exhibitions at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, to name a few. She has had major solo exhibitions throughout the world, including MAXXI Museo Rome, the Asia Society Hong Kong, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Sikander’s work can be found in the permanent collections of many prestigious institutions, and she has won numerous awards, grants and fellowships, including a MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius’ award and the National Medal of Arts Award. She lives and works in New York City.

Norman Chan (BArch 85 Architecture) is the founder and managing director of BTR Workshop Limited in Hong Kong, an architectural and interior design firm based in Hong Kong, established in 1995. Defined by the uncompromising zeal of “Back-to-Reality,” his firm aspires to create work that is timelessly relevant and compelling. He has worked on numerous projects and collaborated with many international architects and designers, the likes of Frank Gehry, Robert Stern, Yabu Pushelburg and Antonio Citterio on projects in Hong Kong, China and the Asia Pacific region. Chan also currently serves as co-chair of the RISD Fund and as a member of the President’s Advisory Council at Williams College.

• Designer Michael Rock (MFA 84 Graphic Design) founded the firm 2x4 in 1993 with fellow alumni Susan Sellers (BFA 89 Graphic Design) and Georgianna Stout (BFA 89 Graphic Design). A global design consultancy headquartered in New York City (with a satellite studio in Beijing), the group focuses on 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 earned the 2006 National Design Award. Rock is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and a senior critic at Yale University School of Art. In 2016 he helped establish the 2x4 Endowed Scholarship at RISD.

Dr. William Schweizer, III (RISD Parent 19) is vice chairman of Clinical Affairs at NYU Langone Health, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in New York City. He is a clinical associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, director of the Generalist Division, and Obstetrics service chief. He has published articles in various medical journals and currently serves as vice president of the Alumni Board at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook. He earned a BS from Cornell University, an MPH from Yale University School of Public Health and an MD from SUNY Stony Brook. Dr. Schweizer served as an ex officio trustee representing the RISD Parents’ Council from 2016-2019.

The trustees are also pleased to announce the following:

As the new president of the RISD Alumni Association, Donald Wun Hing Choi (BArch 82 Architecture | RISD Parent 07) will serve on the Board in an ex officio capacity. Choi is the first Alumni Association president from outside of the US, an appointment that reflects RISD’s increasingly global presence, with alumni living in 93 countries. He will begin a two-year term on July 1 and lead the Association’s 30,000 members around the world.

Deborah Mankiw (RISD Parent 22) was appointed to represent the Parents’ Council on the Board in an ex officio role.

Vincent Buonanno, Jamie Carpenter (BFA 72 Illustration), Robert DiMuccio and Cathy Graham (BFA 76 Painting) have been named emeriti trustees, a designation that recently replaced the previous terminology of honorary trustee.

At the meeting trustees also expressed their appreciation for the contributions of two members completing their service to the Board: Steven Perelman and Roland “Rollie” Sturm (RISD Parent 17).

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

RISD’s mission, 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. The college’s strategic plan NEXT: RISD 2020-2027 sets an ambitious vision for educating students for the future and bringing creative practices to bear on the creation of just societies, a sustainable planet and new ways of making and knowing. RISD’s immersive model of art and design education, which emphasizes critical making through studio-based learning and robust study in the liberal arts, prepares students to intervene in the critical challenges of our time. Working with exceptional faculty and in extraordinary specialized facilities, 2,500 students from 69 countries engage in 42 full-time bachelor's and master's degree programs. RISD's 30,000 alumni worldwide testify to the impact of this model of education, exemplifying the vital role artists and designers play in today’s society. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. Find more information at risd.edu.