The Economista: Musings on the RISD Museum of Art


Welcome to The Economista! Brought to you by your first-year blogger/money-savvy best friend Karine Liu, The Economista is a blog for the budget-conscious Brunonian! Check back here each week for the tips and tricks that’ll have you rolling in your own sea of green out on the Main Green in no time!

If there is one thing about my Brown experience so far that has really surprised me, it’s definitely how much time I have spent around art. Let’s just say that I am not the most artistically inclined (stick figures have proved challenging), but having friends talented in and passionate for the visual arts has thankfully rubbed off on me. I’m finding myself frequenting art exhibits, which is way more swanky-sounding than it actually is. And while Brown has fantastic exhibits at List Art Center and Granoff Center that I highly recommend you check out, afterwards you should make a quick walk down the hill to the RISD Museum of Art and see what our friends down the hill are up to!

In an except from its website, The RISD Museum of Art “acquires, preserves, exhibits, and interprets works of art and design representing diverse cultures from ancient times to the present.” It currently houses seven different departments, spanning from Ancient Art to Asian Art to Costumes and Textiles to Decorative Arts and Designs.

Roman Sarcophagus (2nd century CE)
Roman Sarcophagus (2nd century CE)
Buddha Mahavairocana (ca. 1150-1200)
Buddha Mahavairocana (ca. 1150-1200)
Seated Woman with a Book (1910)

From ancient Roman coffins to a giant Buddha to a freaking Picasso, there’s art from everywhere that can and will amaze anyone. I was shocked by some of the pieces that are permanently on display; just imagining someone having painstakingly dabbed or carved intricate details into these pieces is always enough to get my jaw dropping.

But if you’re looking for something a bit more contemporary, RISD Museum also has the work of its students on display. It doesn’t take a genius to know that these kids are talented beyond belief…


IMG_7924 But seeing it in real life sure makes you want to take an art class with these guys.


I also had the chance to peruse the museum during its Faculty Biennial, which showcases the pieces done by RISD professors from all different fields in art. There was illustration, ceramics, architecture, multimedia, and so much more. I often forget that the school whose library I go to way too often is one of the top design schools in the world; RISD Museum was the best rude awakening.

Comb Study - Seth Stem
Comb Study – Seth Stem
World of JAS - Joseph Aaron Segal
World of JAS – Joseph Aaron Segal
My Rhode Island Island – Paul Olson

Although I only had about an hour to spare, it was certainly enough to gain an immense appreciation for the Museum. But I would recommend that you plan a Saturday morning to go, perhaps with one of your friends who also wants to get their artistic juices flowing. And just showing your Brown ID gives you access for free.

One last pro-tip for the art newbies: don’t worry if you feel like you don’t know enough about art to visit; enjoying art is a different experience for everyone. Don’t think about it too hard, just have fun with it, and perhaps wander through their dangerously awesome store afterwards.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for any topics you’d like to see covered by The Economista, email me at! See you next week!


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