RISD Anti-Racism Coalition (risdARC) is dedicated to combating our institution’s prolonged history of anti-Blackness, marginalization, and discrimination along with the intersections of global systems of oppression affecting our community. We support and advocate for the needs of all students of color regardless of ethnicity, race, disability, gender, or sexuality.

Demands of Painting Department

June 14 2020

Written By:
Sophia-Yemisi Adeyemo-Ross, BFA PT ‘21 
Lauryn Levette, BFA PT’21

Sent to:
RISD Painting Dept.

Painting Department

This is an acknowledgement that RISD Painting (and the RISD community at large) has a history of not actively uplifting Black students until explicitly necessitated by public pressure. It is worth noting that even when viral clips are not circulating, Black people are experiencing violence and harassment everyday. Not only from the police, but also within our own institution.

RISD’s Black students and alumni are constantly used to credit the school's diversity initiatives. This school claims to “embrace diverse, critical perspectives”, yet the institution’s deeply embedded affinity to European aesthetics and predominantly white/male faculty leaves our community without institutional support or academic validation. The common art historical narrative taught to us includes only a sliver of non-white and non-western art. RISD has demonstrated time and time again, that Black history is not art history.

Non black RISD students enjoy, co-opt, and benefit from Black culture constantly,  yet are somehow unequipped to effectively critique the work of Black students when presented with Black aesthetics in a critical/academic setting. Many Black students at RISD have walked away with negative experiences, feeling isolated, and facing racism in the classroom, while their non-Black peers remained silent. Often, our community is left to look outside of our department, or school, for support. Acknowledging this reality means being continuously and genuinely invested in the lives of Black students through engaged research and an active effort to deconstruct inherent bias and anti-Blackness. This investment cannot be performed. Our voices must be heard.

While there are few of us, Black students are very much here and will remain present in the RISD community.

This statement is a call to accountability written by  Black painting students. This is not a statement on behalf of the painting department. This is an address to the students, faculty, and admin of RISD and RISD Painting.

RISD as an institution and student body has access to a huge pool of wealth.  Now is a time to stand with your community.

If you said that “Black Lives Matter” and , now is the time to donate and invest in Black students and faculty at your school.