RISD Mindshare 

Learn how alumni launch personal projects, start businesses, ignite innovation, and make social impact.


Virtual Series

Monday Evenings October 25 - November 15

Presented by the RISD Career Center

The Speakers




Founder & Executive Director, The Avenue Concept

Building the Value of Art & Design in Public Spaces

Founder and Executive Director Yarrow Thorne developed his passion for art and design in urban spaces growing up in a design-based family in Northampton, Massachusetts. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and for the last ten years has been learning how to support public art programming in the urban environment. While a student, Yarrow established RISD’s first public art policy to create revolving walls for artists to showcase their work.

In 2012, he was selected to receive one of twenty SEED Grants from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, which he used to found The Avenue Concept, a platform for a scalable and sustainable public art programming in Providence, Rhode Island. Yarrow’s vision for The Avenue Concept is a private organization that leverages support for public art projects to get off the ground, to jump-start excitement and recognition for art and its value in Providence and everyday life.


Chief Experience Officer & Co-Owner, Coforma

Impactful by Design: The Experience of Revamping Experiences 

As an owner and the Chief Experience Officer at Coforma, Ashleigh is building a business model, service experience standards, and a work culture that cut against the status quo. After earning her BFA in Graphic Design from RISD, Ashleigh moved to DC to work with cause-based organizations. Since then, she’s carved out creative spaces in government and gotten ahead of the remote work movement in tech. She now brings these and more together in Coforma, enabling varied creatives to collaborate with experts in making an impact without losing what’s important in the mix.






Co-Executive Directors, Wassaic Project

No One Would Have Hired Us To Do This

As Founders and Co-Executive Directors of the Wassaic Project, a rural arts center and artist residency program in Wassaic, NY, Bowie and Jeff are artists, curators, and volunteers in their local community.  Since meeting at RISD in 2009, the two, along with their partner, Eve Biddle have worked with over 2,000 artists, produced 12 town wide festivals, held 8 parades, worked in 4 regional school districts, published 4 books, and tons more. Bowie and Jeff will tell the story of Wassaic's inception, transparently talk about the journey, and will happily field frank questions about their continuing evolution as artists, educators, and organizers. 


Photographer & Director, Grace Rivera Photography

The Business of Photography - Money Matters

After completing her BFA in Photography at RISD in 2015, Rivera decided to learn the business side of photography and got herself an internship at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland. When she wasn’t soaking up insights from the agency’s producers, she was photographing her fellow interns, a diverse group of young people, each with their own unique story to share. 


The internship turned into a job, during which time Rivera developed a photographic style inspired by the truth-telling of artists like Lauren Greenfield and Tierney Gearon but with a fashion- and beauty-centric twist. Her work is bold and graphic, and her subjects radiate personality and a relaxed, nothing-to-prove confidence. Now based in Brooklyn, where she has a fully equipped photo studio, Rivera is developing her ongoing series on womanhood, from sisterhood and heartbreak to self-love.

Grace Headshot.jpg




The Talks


October 25, 2021

Building the Value of Art & Design in Public Spaces

Presented by Yarrow Thorne 11 ID

November 1, 2021

Impactful by Design: The Experience of Revamping Experiences

Presented by Ashleigh Axios 08 GD 

November 8, 2021

No One Would Have Hired Us To Do This: Growing and Maintaining the Marriage of a Community Integrated Artspace in Rural New York

Presented by Bowie Barnett-Zunino 09 SC & Jeff Barnett-Zunino 06 PH

November 15, 2021

The Business of Photography -  Money Matters

Presented by Grace Rivera 15 PH


Mindshare is presented by the RISD Career Center

Rhode Island School of Design

20 Washington Place

Providence, RI 02903

We educate and advise all students and alumni on how to effectively translate their education and creativity into fulfilling professional experiences. We do this with deep respect for individual differences and for each person’s unique aspirations and goals. 

We created Mindshare to highlight the amazing stories of RISD alumni and their entrepreneurial journeys.

Image Courtesy © Bruce Damonte / Courtesy WORKac