RISD Celebrates Athena Award Honorees

(by Benjamin Collier Photography).jpg

Earlier this month, while we were nibbling chocolate-dipped strawberries with bagless vacuum magnate James Dyson and a crew of up-and-coming industrial designers, the Rhode Island School of Design was celebrating the 2008 recipients of its annual Athena Awards. In a bash hosted by writer and Studio 360 creator Kurt Andersen (himself the recipient of a RISD honorary degree) at the New York headquarters of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, RISD honored eight individuals for their achievements in the arts (they’re all pictured above, with the award presenters).

Among this year’s honorees: glassmaster James Carpenter (for excellence in design), Ayse Birsel (for excellence in furniture design), and Roni Horn (for excellence in fine art). TED Conference curator Chris Anderson received the Athena Award for Arts Patronage, and departing RISD president Roger Mandle and his wife, Gayle, were honored with the Helen Adelia Rowe Metcalf Award for Lifetime Achievement. After his contract expires this July, Mandle is headed east–way east–to serve as executive director of the Qatar Museums Authority, the organization overseeing the building of the I.M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.