Maharam Promotes Creative Thinking
RISD President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID talks with several past Maharam STEAM Fellows at the Maharam Design Studio in Manhattan | photo by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH
Last Friday (May 13) RISD and Maharam – North America’s leading creator of textiles for commercial and residential interiors – celebrated five years of offering students third-party internship opportunities through the Maharam STEAM Fellowship in Applied Art and Design.
At an event at the Maharam Design Studio in Manhattan – during the height of NYCxDesign events – the company announced that it is renewing its support of the fellowship, which offers RISD students priceless opportunities to pursue summer internships working in a wide range of fields in need of design thinking.
The Maharam STEAM Fellowship in Applied Art and Design provides stipends for select internships with a government agency or nonprofit organization in the US or abroad. Proposals are uniquely designed by students to focus on highlighting and strengthening the role of visually acute critical thinkers and problem solvers in helping to improve public policy and tackle large social issues.
At the event, several of the 32 RISD alumni and students who have completed Maharam STEAM Fellowships spoke with guests about their work. Past fellows have contributed to a remarkable array of organizations ranging from the Mayo Clinic to NPR Science to the World Economic Forum, Plan International, the Marine Biological Laboratory and the US Geological Survey, among many others.
“Maharam believes that critical, creative thinking is essential to shaping a desirable cultural and economic future,” noted Mary Murphy MAE 86, senior vice president, design at Maharam. “We recognize the global impact that today’s students will have on tomorrow’s world and hope the Maharam STEAM Fellowship will accelerate that change.
“With nine RISD alumni on staff,” she added, “we can’t overstate the importance of a RISD education to Maharam’s success. We are pleased to be able to continue our longstanding practice of supporting art and design in such a meaningful way.”
“Maharam STEAM fellows demonstrate that artists and designers have unique abilities to make a positive global impact,” RISD President Rosanne Somerson 76 ID points out. “By welcoming our students into industries and environments where artists and designers are not typically solicited, we not only develop the next generation of creative leaders, but also encourage new categories of employers to recognize the immense value of RISD-educated students and alumni.”
The RISD/Maharam partnership complements RISD’s broader STEM to STEAM initiative, which emphasizes the importance of integrating art and design thinking into the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).
Building on his work with the National Park Service last summer, Maharam STEAM Fellow Joseph Fellows 16 SC is teaching a 3D imaging workshop this month in Colorado.
Maharam STEAM Fellow Kate Aitchison MFA 16 PR pursues projects that combine art and science for the good of the natural world.
Interested in how textile design can empower rural communities, Maharam Fellows Lyza Baum 16 TX and Emilie Jehng 16 TX researched natural dye practices on the remote Filipino island of Bohol.