Last May, I wrote a cover story for the Phoenix about newish RISD Museum Director John Smith and his grand challenge: to add some shine to the museum, an underappreciated and underperforming gem.
Smith, an energetic character with a populist touch, laid out an interesting vision for the place. But things move slowly in Museum Land; exhibits are planned months and even years in advance.
RISD President John Maeda has championed a shift from STEM to STEAM, adding "Art" to the "Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM)" drive animating American education and economic development these days.
Maeda's push is, among other things, a bid to recognize the importance of design in our economy (the iPod is as much a triumph of design, after all, as it is a triumph of technology)