The ISB: A Hidden Gem in PVD

by The Cowl Editor on October 3, 2019

Local Art

Locally-Inspired Art at Sister RISD Gallery

by Brenna O’Leary ’20 A&E Staff

For any art lover, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in downtown Providence is a great way to spend an afternoon.  But if one were to step outside of the museum’s front door, cross the street, and head to the right, there is another RISD gallery on Canal Walk.  The Illustrations Studies Building (ISB), though not as well known as the RISD Museum, also holds a gallery that is open to the public.  

Through the front door of the ISB is an entry room.  There are bulletin boards sponsoring flyers for different illustration classes being held at RISD. Walk down the hallway to the right, past the woodshop class, and to the very end of the building, and one will come to the glass doors of the ISB Gallery.  The gallery itself is simple: scratched wood flooring with studio lighting and small display cases in its center, directing the flow of traffic from the door and back around.

The ISB Gallery is open every week, Wednesday to Saturday, 12-5 p.m.  According to Kylei Ghvell, an employee at the gallery, there are multiple exhibitions every year.  In fact, towards the end of the year, there is fairly quick change over, sometimes with the opportunity to see a new gallery every week.  


Currently, the ISB Gallery is in the middle of exhibiting the work of two of RISD’s illustration alumni. Chris and Soojin Buzelli graduated RISD Illustration in ’95 and ’96, respectively.  Soon after graduating, the two married and have been collaborating together ever since.  This exhibit is titled Art Direction and Illustration: The Creative Marriage of Words and Images. The exhibit opened Aug. 17 and will run until Oct. 19 of this year.  

The gallery itself shows how the abstract classical can be brought into the modern physical world.  Chris Buzelli’s pieces are illustrations done to accompany articles in publications such as The New York Times, Penguin Random House, and more.  His illustrations are vivid color explosions with hints of classical satire to represent the modern content in the articles with which his work typically pairs.  

Some of the paintings present at the ISB include “Drawn Together,” “Sia,” and “Pigeon Pop (America).”  Specifically, the piece “Drawn Together” is a heartwarming illustration; it depicts moths flocking over the Providence skyline during Water Fire, and can bring out the memories of every Providence College student’s first Water Fire experience. RISD is also hosting a talk with both Soojin and Chris Buzelli on illustration and artwork on Thursday, October 10 which will be open to the public.  All information is listed online at the RISD Illustration homepage.  So, if you are free for an afternoon, branch out, try something new—this colorful gallery is waiting to wow you.