RISD salutes Kernaghan, Lenk, Newcomb, and Tulokas

This June we will salute four colleagues who will retire after illustrious and inspiring careers at RISD and who have taught at RISD for a collective 106 years:  Brian Kernaghan, Krzysztof Lenk, Leonard Newcomb, and Maria Tulokas.  These four veterans have more than design in common—they are notable for their international vision, their team work, and their ability to reach out of the fabled RISD departmental bunkers to collaborate with colleagues from other studio disciplines, Liberal Arts, and the Museum of Art. Their daily presence will be sorely missed. We take our hats off to them and wish them happy days, pursuing those projects long delayed due to RISD obligations.

Brian Kernaghan, Professor, Interior Architecture came to RISD from the United Kingdom to head the Department of Interior Architecture in 1996. He holds a diploma in art and design from Leeds College of Art and a BA from the Open University. Before joining the faculty at RISD Brain taught at Kingston University in London and at Kingston Polytechnic. Brian, more the architect of the Interior Architecture Department rather than just head, took the department from a program of eight undergraduates to its current size of 101 graduate and undergraduate students. He has led travel courses to Japan, Great Britain, and India and established a summer program with a partner institution in Denmark.  His colleague Liliane Wong says, “It is thanks to Brian’s vision that from a handful of students and faculty we now hold the reputation of the top program in the country…The most important achievement, however, is that thanks to the tone that Brian has maintained through the years we are a Department of faculty and students who value and share a deep respect for each other and each other’s work. This is a rare atmosphere in the field of architecture and design and one that I feel privileged to be part of every day.”

 Krzysztof Lenk, Professor, Graphic Design has taught in the at RISD since 1982. Before coming to RISD he taught at the School of Art in Design in Lodz, Poland. He graduated with a MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. During the 60s and 70s he also worked as a designer and design director in Poland, Germany, and France on a variety of publication design projects. A tireless ambassador for RISD and the Graphic Design Department, Lenk has presented lectures and workshops on information design for universities in over twenty countries. From 1990-2000 Lenk was creative director at Dynamic Diagrams, a consultancy which pioneered interface design. And which is written about in Richard Wurman’s books “Information Architects” and “Understanding USA”. Lenk was the IBM Fellow at the 1983 Aspen Conference and spoke on global statistics at the 2001 TED Conference. In the Spring of 2009 Lenk received a RISD Professional Development Fund grant to support the Polish publication of a catalog of his work across three continents. He is currently working on a volume on his pedagogy.

Leonard Newcomb, Associate Professor, Landscape Architecture  joined the faculty in 1979. He received his BA from Amherst College and his Master of Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. During his career at RISD Leonard served as Department Head of the Landscape Architecture Department in the early 80s and Chief Critic of the European Honors Program at the turn of the millennium.  He jointly authored (with Scott Kruger) the “First a Tuck, Then a Ripple Project” for “The Paris Goose Game: Urban Strategies for Insalubrious Islands” exhibit first shown in Paris and later at the RISD Museum of Art in 1995. Leonard was recipient of two Professional Development Fund grants to study Renaissance gardens and the landscape works of Noguchi.

Maria Tulokas, Professor, Textile Design joined the faculty in 1976. Maria chaired the department from 1980-2005 and served as Acting Dean of Fine Arts in 1997.  While Department Head, Maria established the practice of incorporating large teams of teachers in courses that enrich the classroom experience for faculty and student alike. She holds a diploma of Textile Designer from the University of Art  and Design, Helsinki and a MFA from RISD. Prior to teaching at RISD Maria taught in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada. Maria’s design work has been exhibited across the world and is in the collections of the Cooper Hewitt Museum and the RISD Museum of Art. She has spoken and participated in juries in Chile, Egypt, Finland, Japan, Korea and in numerous venues. Maria was the recipient of grants from the Mellon Foundation, the Isla Negra Foundation (Chile), and the RISD Professional Development Fund to investigate textile traditions and pedagogy around the world. Maria directed the NEA grant funded “Textiles for the Eighties” exhibit which started at the RISD Museum and toured the nation. She has been especially active in reaching out to our Southeast-Asian alumni.

Division of Architecture + Design, Division of Fine Arts, Faculty

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