Artists, museums, and the communities that sustain them

A conversation with Sarah Blythe and David Allyn
Friday, April 16th, at 8:45am
Register at

On Friday, April 16th, at 8:45am, Sarah Blythe, interim director of the RISD Museum and parent of two Gordon graduates, and David Allyn, Gordon's twenty-third Britt Nelson Visiting Artist, will join Claire Phipps for a conversation about the relationship between artists, museums, and the communities that sustain them.

Sarah joined the RISD Museum in 2009 as director of education, coming to Rhode Island from New York and positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. At RISD, she collaborated with artists, students and scholars to realize exhibitions, programs and publications, while also critically investigating the complicated histories of museums, art pedagogy and interpretation practices in her own work. Her work included a number of collaborations with Gordon teachers and students, including a sixth grade lesson that produced work that was exhibited at the US Department of Education in Washington, DC.

David Allyn is a visual and performing artist whose work has rich connections to the Providence arts community. While earning an MFA in ceramics at RISD, he discovered Providence's lively, interdisciplinary arts community. He founded the ceramics studio at the Steel Yard, a nonprofit serving the sculpture and industrial arts community, and his ceramics draw on Providence's rich architectural history. An excellent short documentary on David and his work is at

He has been working with Gordon students since spring 2020 as the twenty-third Britt Nelson Visiting Artist, which was established in 1998 to support Gordon's commitment to hands-on art education by bringing professional artists to campus to work directly with students on extended lessons and projects.

The conversation is free and open to the public, with opportunities for questions from the audience.

This is the next installment in Coffees with Claire, an ongoing series of talks with various members of the Gordon community curated by Claire Phipps, Gordon’s Chief Advancement and Experience Officer. Coffees with Claire is an opportunity to highlight voices in the Gordon community with unique expertise and experiences to share. Previous coffees have included historians, nonprofit professionals, educators and entrepreneurs, and are archived at


New on the blog