RISD MLK 2023, Thelma Golden keynote speaker
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Martin Luther King Day: the Rhode Island School of Design’s annual MLK Lecture Series to feature Thelma Golden

The director of the Studio Museum in Harlem to be keynote speaker at the event dedicated to the Nobel Peace Prize winner

RISD MLK 2023, Thelma Golden keynote speaker
By Redazione The Plan -

There are only a few days to go until Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday in the United States dedicated to the activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King, which is celebrated on the third Monday of January. Marking the event, every year the Providence-based Rhode Island School of Design organizes the RISD MLK Lecture Series featuring academics, writers, artists, and activists who come together to discuss cultural and community issues. The keynote speaker this year is Thelma Golden, director of the Studio Museum in Harlem (New York), with the event scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, at the RISD Auditorium. The event will also be streamed live on the university website. The keynote will see the participation of Nichole T. Rustin and Zoé Samudzi, both teaching and research fellows at RISD’s Center for Social Equity and Inclusion. Their discussion will span the history and future of the Studio Museum, and the role of Black art in contemporary practice.

RISD MLK Lecture Series

2022 speaker/scholar Eddie Glaude, Jr. and RISD’s former Vice President & Associate Provost for Social Equity & Inclusion Matthew Shenoda in dialogue ©Alex Pizzuti, courtesy of RISD

The RISD MLK Lecture Series is gaining increasing prestige for the uniqueness of its events centering on Martin Luther King and his work to create a more just and democratic society. The event and conference program offers meaningful moments for reflection, inspiration, and celebration. The list of past keynote speakers gives a clear idea of the importance of the event: Eddie Glaude, Jr., Michelle Alexander, Cornel West, Roxane Gay, Lee Mun Wah, Emory Douglas, Ambassador Andrew Young, Faith Ringgold, Tim Wise, Danny Glover, Marian Wright Edelman, Harry Belafonte, and Angela Davis.

Who is Thelma Golden

Thelma Golden ©Julie Skarratt

Raised in Queens, Thelma Golden holds degrees in Art History and African American Studies from Smith College. She worked for ten years as curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2000 she returned to the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she interned as a student, becoming director and chief curator in 2005. In 2010, Barack Obama appointed her to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, in which she served until 2016. She sits on the boards of directors of the Barack Obama Foundation and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Known for her support of emerging artists, Golden’s leadership has seen the museum increase visitor numbers and grow in prestige, becoming a pioneering center for experimenting with new educational and cultural projects. The Studio Museum is currently being extended to a design by Adjaye Associates (design architect) and Cooper Robertson (architect of record).


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