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Furniture Society honors Rosanne Somerson

Rosanne Somerson, interim provost at the Rhode Island School of Design, will be honored with The Furniture Society’s Award of Distinction for lifetime achievement in the field of studio furniture.

The award will be presented June 14-16 at The Furniture Society’s annual conference at the Maine College of Art in Portland.

“Rosanne Somerson’s life and career have had a profound and far-reaching impact on American furniture design, which is the underlying purpose of the Award of Distinction,” The Furniture Society president Alf Sharp said in a statement. “Her tenure at RISD and other ventures have been characterized by leadership and devotion to innovative design and education.”

In addition to her current position as RISD for the 20011-12 academic year, Somerson was interim associate provost for academic affairs from 2005-2007. Previously, she served as professor and head of the Department of Furniture Design, which she helped form in 1995 and, from 1985-95, she ran the Museum of Fine Arts graduate program in Furniture Design in Industrial Design.

Since 1978, Somerson has maintained her own design studio, where she creates furniture for exhibition and by commission. She also is a partner in Dezco Furniture Design LLC, a production furniture company.

Somerson’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Decorative Arts of the Louvre in Paris and many other major international museums and galleries. Her work is featured in numerous books and publications. It is included in private, corporate and museum collections, notably the Smithsonian American Art Museum; Museum of Fine Art, Boston; Yale University Art Gallery; Huntsville Museum of Art; Fuller Craft Museum; The Smith College Museum of Art and the Museum of Art at RISD.

The Furniture Society’s Annual Conference draws more than 400 furniture makers, collectors, students and educators. It offers a broad range of presentations, demonstrations and panel discussions centered on the design, techniques, technology, materials and business of furniture making.

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