RISD To Host Symposium On Rosa Parks House At Waterfire

May 18, 2018

The Rhode Island School of Design explores the story and history of the Rosa Parks House Project from the viewpoint of art, preservation, and memory. RISD's Interior Architecture Department will host the symposium, called Everybody’s House, on Friday at Waterfire, where the display is located.

RISD’s Interior Architecture Department’s symposium announcement comes more than two months after Brown University cancelled an exhibit involving the project.

The symposium will start with a tour of the house, followed by three panel discussions about the house’s role and historical significance and whether the installation can be considered historic preservation.

Liliane Wong heads RISD’s interior architecture department. She said not much has changed since the Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

"You know we go to Mount Vernon because George Washington lived there. And so, the question here is that, is this house which Rosa Parks lived in for two years of that kind of significance," Wong said. 

Wong said she hopes to discuss what constitutes heritage and landmark status in the U.S., and how global standards can reflect different perspectives.

The Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute disputes the claim that Parks lived in the house for an extended period of time. The organization, which was co-founded by Parks before her death, says the artist behind the project has overstated the historical significance of the house.