I spent four years in Providence, RI, when I was an undergraduate at Brown University, but I knew remarkably little about RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), even though the two campuses are adjacent on the east side of the city and allow for cross registration. One Brown student I knew took a photography class at the prestigious art school (as I would have if I’d had any sense at all), plus I remember a RISD student in one of my acting classes. That was about it.
Fast forward a whole bunch of years: now I have a daughter old enough to be looking at colleges. Since we’re in New England for a few weeks, my husband and I took our daughter and niece to see Brown and RISD.  I’ve been to Providence several time since leaving school, but I’m still shocked that the city is so . . . nice. There was major, major gentriication around the turn of the millenium (I think) that included uncovering several rivers that run through the center of the city and building a really nice shopping center (“mall” sounds tacky) called The Providence Place, um . . . Mall.
We spent the first afternoon and evening exploring Brown and nearby Thayer Street, which is a funky little street lined with shops and restaurants that are way nicer than the ones that were there when I was a student.
The next morning we took a tour of RISD. I knew RISD is widely regarded as the best art school in the country. What I didn’t know is that it so cool. There is a whole room that has plants, animals (alive and dead), fish and birds (ditto), shells — you name it: everything you’d need as a model if you wanted to draw, paint or sculpt something from nature.
And then there’s that other thing from nature: man. There was a skeleton room, too (not all the skeletons were human, but an awful lot were).





Studio classes run six hours at a stretch; the studios themselves are open twenty-four hours a day.





As for other facilties, here are a couple of shots from what is easily the most gorgeous university library I have ever seen.

Yeah, I definitely should have taken that photography course.