A designer, professor and academic leader, Rosanne Somerson has been advancing art and design for decades. After launching a successful studio design practice, she returned to RISD to teach. and then founded the Furniture Design Department before serving as Provost, interim President, RISD’s 17th President, and now President Emerita.
An author and subject of many podcasts, she frequently speaks and writes about the power of art and design as core elements of critical thinking and making. She maintains a studio and consulting creative practice, designing and creating furniture for exhibitions and commissions. Her works have been prominently featured in numerous publications and exhibited in major museums and galleries throughout the globe, including the Musée des Arts Décoratifs at the Louvre in Paris, and she is also represented in many private, corporate and museum collections.
Somerson is included in the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art Oral History Project and has been awarded many honors including two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the James Renwick Alliance Distinguished Crafts Educator Award, a 2019 Pell Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Arts., a Lifetime Distinction Award from the Furniture Society, and is a named Fellow of the American Craft Council and a Life Trustee of Haystack Mountain School.