Sussex ’04 Recalls Summer at RISD Art Program

As one of Phillips Academy’s premeire art students, Emma Sussex ’04, enrolled in a five-week long program at the renowned Providence art college, Rhode Island School of Design, better known as RISD. Over the course of her career at Andover, Sussex has taken a range of visual art classes. In addition to the required Art 200 class, Sussex also participated in a drawing program and architecture classes her upper year. Seeking to pursue her interest in art, Sussex first became interested in the RISD program when she visited the Summer Opportunities Office, where she was encouraged by director Roxan Barry to explore this option. In the past summer, there have typically been about three or four students from the Academy who have attended the program. At RISD, Sussex “majored” in graphic design, with hopes of learning more about layout and aesthetic appeal in magazines. She also took classes in drawing, art history and basic design. Although Sussex said although that she appreciated her time at RISD, she wishes that she had focused more on drawing and less on mechanics and typography. However, Sussex credits the school with excellent teachers, who were useful in helping students figure out what makes a piece work. Professors also provided conferences at the conclusion of the program, providing advice as to what fields they excel in the most. This year, Sussex intends to shift her focus to painting. Students at RISD are kept busy by their long class days, which last from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m and do not have much free time to engage in leisure activities, according to Sussex. “The program is good if you’re interested in spending a lot of time on art,” Sussex said. “It’s as much work as you make it.” Sussex also said that the program provided a strong foundation for students to build upon, as well as a chance to specifically concentrate on art and only art, which can be difficult at the Academy because of its demanding schedule and lack of time left for such classes. RISD is a predominantly female co-educational college where students who have a love of the arts can enroll in a vast array of programs, from fashion to industrial design. To apply, prospective students to fill out a basic application, supplemented by a recommendation from a previous art teacher. During the summer program, students live in dorms in the center of campus and attend classes with an average size of about 20 students.