Amanda Clark MacMullen
May 2024

This is the Moment

There is a notion in popular culture that artists and designers are solitary geniuses, toiling away in seclusion. Every so often, the story goes, creative visionaries emerge from their isolation to reveal work that astonishes, delights and solves thorny problems. At RISD, we know that artists and designers are astonishing and delightful problem-solvers, but we also know that for creative people to thrive, community is essential. Community is both grounding and uplifting; it provides the conditions in which artists can question, learn, exchange ideas, explore and invent. In community, solutions emerge and acts of kindness and generosity transform lives and futures.

Although I am a relative newcomer to RISD, having joined the institution as vice president of Institutional Advancement in February, I am a longtime advocate and strategist for higher education and arts. I have long understood the tremendous impact RISD has on our global creative commons, and I am honored and delighted to work with RISD’s extended community to further strengthen the college and museum.

I know I am not alone in fervently believing in RISD’s mission and wishing to advance it, because over the past several months, speaking with RISD’s many dedicated donors, volunteers and others, it has become clear to me how deeply members of this community care for one another and for the legacy and future of the institution, and it is easy to understand why. There is a great need and demand for the innovation, creativity, joyful humanity and critical thinking that RISD fosters, and a deep desire to ensure that the RISD experiences that were formative for today’s creative leaders are accessible to future generations. 

We, as an institution, are grateful for all who support us with their time and presence, including those whose stories we tell in these pages. On campus, across the country and around the world, we see the impact of RISD’s creative leadership and generosity. 

President Williams recently traveled to the inaugural Design Doha 2024 spearheaded by RISD Trustee Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. She was thrilled to be united with enthusiastic alumni attending and participating in the event. Our alums continue to engage and influence the art and design world on a global scale. 

As I look ahead, I am optimistic about our collective future, because I see our community taking action— whether establishing fellowships, giving to the Materials Fund, the RISD Fund or other priorities— to reinforce what is so singular about RISD. It is a place of limitless possibility, where students are encouraged to start creating by beginning with deep questioning. That means they often move into unknown territories, but never on their own. Always at hand are people offering mentorship, advice, materials, opportunities, financial aid and encouragement. 

As RISD approaches its 150th anniversary under the visionary leadership of President Williams, I believe that this is the moment for our community to come together to ensure a strong future for this cherished and inimitable institution. I look forward to hearing from you, learning more and partnering with you in this endeavor, and I thank you for all that you do. 

Amanda Clark MacMullan
Vice President of Institutional Advancement