Research Residency for Artists

We invite local artists and designers working in any medium to apply for the 2022 RISD Museum Research Residency for Artists (previously known as the RISD Museum Artist Fellowship). This opportunity combines artistic practice, expansive research methods, and an openness to experiment and explore possibilities within the context of an arts institution. One selected artist will receive a stipend of $10,000, professional development support, and the opportunity to work closely with Museum collections and staff members.

Please note: housing and/or studio space is not provided.

This year’s research residency is made possible with generous support from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) was a painter and printmaker who over the course of a six-decade career continuously re-invented, shifted, and challenged herself. To honor the spirit and legacy of Frankenthaler, applicants should share critical shifts, transitions, or changes currently happening in their practice. Additionally, applicants should demonstrate a curiosity and interest in Frankenthaler’s experimental printmaking practices.

At the start of the residency, the selected applicant will research the museum’s Frankenthaler print collection which includes a number of donated works from the Frankenthaler Foundation. The resident artist or designer will spend time with museum curators along with RISD printmaking faculty and students looking closely, sharing research developments, and exploring avenues for public engagement with Frankenthaler’s prints. As the residency continues, research can take many forms and be experimental in nature. We envision the resident artist or designer engaging in work that benefits their personal practice; delves deeply into ideas, materials, and processes; and can be shared with the public through the RISD Museum.

The RISD Museum was founded with a core mission of inspiring artists and designers. By supporting the local creative community, the museum and its audiences are fueled by the imagination and innovation of the artists and designers it serves. We aspire to create an​​ accessible and inclusive environment that builds meaningful relationships across all communities. We recognize that museums are not neutral spaces and that our collections reflect power structures of exclusion, and our current work aims to offer an expanded view of artists, art-making, and history.

Research Residency Goals

  • Provide significant access to art, museum practices, and staff
  • Grow the artist’s interests which may include, and are not limited to: artist research; skill development; institutional critique; and/or activism
  • Invite innovation and inspiration
  • Generate shifts in perspectives between museum staff, visitors, artists, etc.
  • Explore links between the RISD Museum’s collection, Frankenthaler’s work, and current practices in art and design
  • Influence the museum’s approach to supporting artists and designers in the future.

In addition to a $10,000 stipend, the artist will receive:

  • Access to research resources, including the RISD Museum collections and RISD Fleet Library;
  • Opportunities for mentorship from RISD Museum staff;
  • Ability to attend select RISD Continuing Education courses;
  • Artist-related professional development; and
  • Opportunities to share their creative process with RISD Museum audiences.
  • Additionally, a modest project budget is available should the artist choose to create a project, artwork, or public program as part of their research.


The research residency will both complement the museum’s planned collections research on Helen Frankenthaler’s work and further the artist’s own practice. The artist will investigate museum collections, with support and mentorship from curatorial staff, conservators, and educators, and engage in research that benefits their personal practice and delves deeply into ideas, materials, and processes. The artist will be invited to participate in staff meetings, projects, and activities that help build a diverse and inclusive community.

Time dedicated to the research residency can fluctuate throughout the year depending on the artist’s external work and commitments. Schedules and timelines can be developed in collaboration with museum staff, however, we envision the artist will allot approximately 16 hours per month to residency-related work.


  • Applicants must be local, residing in the Providence metropolitan area for at least one year prior to the application deadline.
  • Artists and designers working in any medium are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants should be able to articulate a critical shift, transition, and/or change in their practice. This could mean an emerging artist establishing their practice or an established artist at a significant moment of creative or professional development.
  • Applicants should be interested in infusing their creative practice with research, and in exploring objects from varied times and cultures.
  • Applicants may not be enrolled in a degree-seeking program, either part-time or full-time, at an institution of higher learning at the time of the application deadline or during the year of the residency. Because RISD faculty and staff already have access to many of the resources provided by this residency, they are not eligible for this program. RISD CE Certificate Students are eligible to apply.

A panel of Museum staff and arts professionals will review applications and conduct interviews with a selection of candidates.

Application period opens: September 27, 2021

Optional office hours available Thursday, October 21, 10:00 am–12:00 pm; Tuesday, October 26, 1:00–3:00 pm. Applicants may sign up for 30 min. time slots to view a few works by Helen Frankenthaler and/or ask questions of museum staff before submitting their application. Sign up for a time slot in this link.

Application deadline: November 5, 2021, 11:59 pm
Interviews for finalists: early December 2021
Notifications: end of December 2021
Start date: January 1, 2022
End date: December 31, 2022

Application Overview
Applicants are invited to respond to Questions 1, 2, 3 & 5 either written or orally via audio file.
Audio files accepted: mp3, wav, m4a. These responses should be 1 1/2 to 3 minutes or less in length. Selection committee members will listen only to the maximum time limit.
1) Share what has been crucial to your development as an artist. (maximum 400 words or 2 ½ -3 min audio file)
2) Share how the research residency might impact your work and career in 2022 with a focus on a shift, transitions, or changes at this time. (maximum 400 words or 2 ½ -3 min audio file)
3) Select a Frankenthaler print or painting in the RISD Museum collection (see Helen Frankenthaler collection link below). Briefly respond, comment, question, or reflect upon the work. (maximum 250 words or 1 ½ min audio file)
4) Identify your interest, curiosity, and/or experience in different types of museum work. (select up to 7 types with option for brief explanation)
5) If you had unlimited resources and no restrictions, what would you want to do in/to/with the RISD Museum for 24 hours? (maximum 350 words or 3 min audio file)
6) Resume (two pages maximum. .pdf)
7) Portfolio of 5-10 representative images or samples of your artwork from the past 5 years, with a numbered list including title, date, materials, and dimensions. These samples may include up to 5 audio and/or video files that are no longer than 10 minutes each. If the work was a collaboration, please list the names of all collaborators. File formats - pdf; .gif, .jpg, .png, .tif; .m4a, .mp3, .wav; .avi, .mov, .mp4

Apply now

Helen Frankenthaler collection


Before you apply

What do you mean by research? Do I have to write papers?
Research can take many forms, and no, we don’t expect research papers. We envision artists and designers engaging in research that benefits their personal practice; delves deeply into ideas, materials, and processes; and can be shared with the public through the RISD Museum. Your research could be made evident through its impact on your work, the ways you formulate ideas, and other approaches we haven’t imagined.

This is a residency, will I get a studio or an office?
The RISD Museum is able to offer a shared workspace that can be scheduled for computer-based research during public hours. Housing and/or studio space is not provided.

How can I tell what objects are in your collection?
You can browse our entire collection at You can explore works not on view, past exhibitions, objects without images, and more. If you have questions that are not answered through online research, please consider attending one of the scheduled office hours listed above, or feel free to contact

Can I still do object-based research in your collection, even if I don’t apply or don’t receive the residency?
Yes! See the question above to learn more about how to browse our collection online, and take advantage of free membership for Rhode Island-based artists to visit the galleries any time, at no charge. Interested in public programming? Submit a proposal here.

I work collaboratively. Can two or more people apply together, as a group?
You may apply as a group if collaboration or collective work is central to your creative practice and you and your fellow group members have a history of successfully working together. If you plan to apply collaboratively, please be sure to describe/demonstrate how your collective has a sustained practice together, to include resumes from all members, and to address how this opportunity would benefit all parties of your group.

Can academics apply?
This research residency is intended for individuals who consider themselves artists or designers first and foremost. RISD faculty and staff are not eligible for this opportunity.

Will you give preference to RISD alumni?
We consider all applicants equally, regardless of whether they attended RISD.

I’m shy. What kind of public engagement might you expect from me?
Public engagement is optional, although it is encouraged and supported. Any artist presentations should be true to the artist, their practice, and what they hope to share with the public. Formats for presentations could include a short demonstration, a low-key sharing of works in process, a talk, performance, interactive program, or digital project.

Are there other opportunities for artists and designers?
Yes, the RISD Museum offers programs focused on critical and creative thinking and making. Check the calendar for professional development programs for artists and designers as well as public programs for all audiences. The Museum also offers artist memberships, which are free for Rhode Island artists; benefits include admission to the Museum for one year, discounts for RISD Store purchases and Continuing Education classes, and more.

Application process

What are audio responses?
This year we are piloting an audio response option for applicants who are more comfortable communicating their ideas through speaking. The application indicates which questions can be answered by uploading an audio file. Audio files accepted include mp3, wav, m4a. 

Do I have to submit both audio and written responses to the questions in the application?
Applicants are welcome to respond through writing OR speaking per question. You can choose which option works best for you per question, meaning you are welcome to write an answer for one question and submit an audio file for another question. Please note audio recordings will be reviewed up to the maximum time limit only.

How do I make an audio file?
Many smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers have built-in audio recording capabilities which vary depending on the device. There are also third-party audio recording apps available. We recommend searching online for your specific device’s instructions. Audio files accepted include mp3, wav, m4a. Please note audio recordings will be reviewed up to the maximum time limit only.

Review Process

What will the panel be looking for?
Please carefully review the description and qualifications.

What is your review process?
Following an internal review, selected candidates will be invited for an interview and asked to prepare a short presentation in early December. All applicants will be notified of decisions at the end of December.

During the Research Residency

Do I have to spend the money I receive in a specific way?
There are no specific parameters for how you spend the stipend. We are interested in how this funding will support you and your work.

What are examples of RISD resources I would be able to access?
The artist will have access to a range of resources at RISD, including support from Museum staff. Additionally, there is access to RISD’s Fleet Library, Nature Lab, and the ability to take select RISD Continuing Education courses during the year.

What hours will I have access to the RISD Museum, and how frequently am I expected to visit?
You are welcome at the Museum during all public hours as often as you like. Meetings with staff and use of resources will be by appointment during working hours. The schedule can be set and changed by you throughout the year. We envision the artist will allot approximately 16 hours per month to residency-related work.

Will I get a RISD Museum ID?
Yes, you will be provided with a RISD Museum ID, giving you access to the RISD Museum and RISD Library and a 10% discount at the RISD Store. This ID will also get you reciprocal free admission to most museums nationally.

Will I have a solo show? Will I have my work acquired by the RISD Museum?
The parameters of the research residency do not include the Museum’s exhibition or acquisition of works. This program is focused on supporting the development of artistic processes.

Will I get a studio or an office?
The RISD Museum is able to offer a shared workspace that can be scheduled for computer-based research. No studio space is provided.

Will I get a parking spot?
There is no reserved parking, however, there are several nearby parking options available at a discount to those visiting the RISD Museum. Public transportation to the RISD Museum is also available.

For further questions or inquiries, please contact

Apply now


The RISD Museum Research Residency for Artists is supported by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation's Frankenthaler Prints Initiative. The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation was established and endowed by the artist during her lifetime and became active in 2013, on the closing of the artist’s estate. The Foundation supports the artist’s legacy through a variety of initiatives, including encouraging and facilitating significant exhibitions of Frankenthaler’s work, grant-making, and the publishing of a catalogue raisonné.

RISD Museum is supported by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with the generous partnership of the Rhode Island School of Design, its Board of Trustees, and Museum Governors.