Dorner Prize

About the Dorner Prize

The Dorner Prize is awarded annually to RISD undergraduate and graduate students for temporary, site-specific projects at the RISD Museum. These artistic interventions may take the form of physical, digital, or programmatic encounters that examine or critique the Museum’s historical and contemporary contexts, collections, architectural idiosyncrasies, habits of visitation, and/or web presence.

Submissions are reviewed by a jury of RISD professors, Museum staff, and local artists; up to two winners receive cash prizes and implementation funds. The winning artists work with Museum staff during each phase of the development process and are celebrated with online promotion and public events.

Dorner Prize, first established in 1995 as the Sitings exhibition, was named for distinguished RISD Museum director Alexander Dorner (tenure 1938–1941), and is made possible by a generous anonymous gift.

Recent winning entries include:

- Passive Pollination

- Unheard Voices


Complete Definitions

Lost in Translation

Feygeles and Intermediary

White Wall

2024 Jurors

Hillel O'Leary (RISD BFA 2011), Assistant Professor, Industrial Design, RISD

Gabrielle Walker, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet Curatorial Assistant, RISD Museum

Applications OPEN: Monday, December 11, 2023, 12:00 pm EST

Application DEADLINE: Monday, January 22, 2024, 11:59 pm EST

Late applications are unable to be considered.

Cash Prize: $500; Implementation Funds: up to $1,000

Please direct any questions to


Who may participate?

Any RISD undergraduate or graduate student may submit a proposal. Collaborations are welcome, and more than one proposal per entrant is allowed. Brown University students may apply with a collaborating RISD student.

How is the winning project selected?

Evaluation of the proposals is based on the following:

  • Content: commentary on or response to Museum contexts, spaces, and/or collection
  • Strength of the proposal: clarity of presentation, adherence to guidelines including the physical and logistical feasibility for creation and installation
  • Originality: sensitivity to site, use of materials
  • Jurors select a group of finalists. Finalists are notified and scheduled to meet with the jurors to discuss their proposals. Two proposals are selected as winners.

What are my responsibilities if I am a winner?

  • Enter into a contract with the Museum specifying responsibilities.
  • Execute temporary projects as presented to the jurors, making only those modifications required and reviewed by the jurors and Museum staff.
  • Participate in at least two scheduled planning meetings and a studio visit with Museum staff.
  • Install and deinstall work under the supervision of the Museum’s registration, security, installation and digital-content staff, as applicable. The site must be restored to its original state.
  • Share inspiration and process with the public in informal, brief gallery talks (Work in Process program format) at mutually convenient times during the spring semester.

Before you apply:

All proposals must include:

  • Contact Information
  • Project Title
  • Project Site – Select one of the following:
    • In-Person Program/Performance
    • Virtual Program/Performance
    • Digital Project
    • Physical Installation:
      • Interior wall across from front desk, Chace Center lobby, 1st floor
      • Interior wall by Chihuly Glass Chandelier/Ancient Egypt, 6th floor
      • Exterior of the Radeke Building Face on Benefit St.
  • Project Description – Describe your project in 300 words or less. Include how your project: comments on the Museum; engages with the public and impacts the viewer; and was informed by the site’s inherent characteristics 
  • Installation Details – Describe how your project will be experienced and appear in 300 words or less. Include: identification of the site; materials; work plan, along with installation/deinstallation details; and accessibility considerations. State how your project will be implemented and how the site will be returned to its original condition after the installation.
  • Project Visuals – Include sketches, drawings, diagrams, renderings, mock-ups, digital submissions etc. to help the jury understand your vision.
  • Budget – Provide a detailed budget not to exceed $1000 supported by written estimates reflecting the cost of materials, subcontracted labor, and any expenses related to the project, including returning the site to its original condition. Budgets will be carefully reviewed and may be revised. Funds cannot be directly disbursed to the artist. All financial transactions will be handled by the Dorner Prize coordinator, with payments processed through the RISD Business Office.
  • Additional Project Materials (optional) – Include a separate listing all accompanying project materials including any electronic, audio/visual, or other equipment.
  • Environmental and Sustainability Considerations – In 150 words or less, how are you taking into consideration the impact of your project on carbon footprint/climate/environment? What steps can you take to minimize the impact that your project and process will have on the climate emergency?
  • Previous Work Examples – Include up to three images of past work, with titles and dates of work, media, and dimensions. (For those working in collaboration, each artist may submit three visuals of previous work). Redact names on these files.

Proposals must be submitted no later than 11:59 pm (EST) on Monday, January 22, 2024. Late applications are unable to be considered.



Review the dates below to ensure that you are available for the jury interview, installation planning, installation, and deinstallation. Some interactions may be conducted on Zoom. All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Site tours and office hours

Applicants learn about available spaces for projects and ask questions before submitting their application.

Site Tours - learn about available spaces for projects

- VIRTUAL OPTION on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, 7:30-8:00 pm EST -
Link to join on Zoom

- IN PERSON OPTIONS - Meet in the Chace Center Lobby at 20 N. Main St.

- Friday, January 12, 2024, 12:00-12:45 pm

- Thursday, January 18, 2024, 12:00-12:45 pm

Office Hours - Drop in to ask questions before submitting your application. Meet in the Chace Center Lobby at 20 N. Main St.

- Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 12:00-1:00 pm

- Thursday, January 18, 2024, 4:00-6:00 pm

Application deadline: Monday, January 22, 2024, 11:59 pm EST

Late applications are unable to be considered.

Finalists interviews with jurors

Week of February 5, 2024 (Virtual interviews are 25-30 minutes)

Project planning meeting by appointment

Week of February 19, 2024

Visit to winning artists’ studios by curator and installation staff by appointment

March 2024 (specific dates TBD)

Installation begins (assistance by Museum staff will be limited and scheduled prior to installation)

March 2024 (specific dates TBD)

Dorner Prize open to the public

April 2024 (specific dates TBD)

Public gallery talk reflecting on projects

During April 2024 (specific date TBD)

Deinstallation begins (assistance by Museum staff will be limited and scheduled prior to deinstallation)

Week of June 3, 2024 (likely date Monday, June 3 between 9 am–4 pm)

Deinstallation complete

Wednesday, June 5, 2024, 10 am