• Astronaut & Artist Nicole Stott Announced as Speaker for 2017 Ringling College Commencement

    First astronaut to paint in space to speak on Thursday, May 11

    Sarasota, FL — May 5, 2017 – Ringling College of Art and Design today announced that astronaut/artist Nicole Stott will deliver the commencement address to the 2017 Ringling College graduating class on Thursday, May 11 at 3:30 PM at the Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto, Florida.

    This year’s class of nearly 250 graduates is headed all over the world in pursuit of their creative careers, including such world-renowned companies and brands as Nickleodeon, Hasbro, Google and Disney. Stott will present an “out of this world” perspective on why art and creativity are so important to our society especially as an addition to science, technology, engineering and math.  

    Stott, known as the ‘The Artistic Astronaut’ as well as a passionate science and arts advocate, has flown on two spaceflights and has spent over 100 days living and working in space on both the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS).  Stott was the first astronaut to paint in space.She has performed one spacewalk, was the first person to fly the robotic arm to capture the free flying HTV cargo vehicle, was the last crew member to fly to and from their ISS mission on a Space Shuttle and was a crew member on the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery. As a NASA Aquanaut Stott holds the Women’s World Record for saturation diving following her 18-day mission with the NEEMO9 crew on the Aquarius undersea habitat.

    Upon seeing the Earth from space, Stott had an epiphany.  In awe of the overwhelming beauty of that experience, she knew that she would dedicate the rest of her life to sharing that with others.  She believes that sharing this perspective has the power to increase everyone’s appreciation of, and obligation to, care for our home planet and each other.

    According to Ms. Stott, “I’m honored to provide the May commencement address at Ringling College of Art and Design.  As an astronaut, I have been blessed with the opportunity to experience our beautiful planet through the windows of a masterfully designed spacecraft.  As an artist, I am working to share that experience in a unique and meaningful way.  I look forward to speaking to graduates in a place where art and design come so wonderfully together.”

    “The commonalities between scientists and artists are many, and the lab and the studio are two of the last places reserved for pure inquiry,” said Dr. Larry R. Thomson, President of Ringling College of Art and Design. “Having Nicole address our graduating seniors as they launch their careers will be especially apropos given her experience, intellect and passion.”

    After 27 years with NASA, Stott is on her next adventure as a full-time Artist and Science/Art Education Advocate. Through her artwork, she uniquely shares the awesome beauty and impressions she was blessed to experience through the windows of her spacecraft. Combining her artwork and spaceflight experience, she is actively working to generate widespread interest in the inspiration that comes so wonderfully through the integration of Art and Science.

    Images of Nicole for media use are available at this LINK.

    Ringling College commencement is scheduled to begin at 3:30 PM on Thursday, May 11th at the Bradenton Area Convention Center located at 1 Haben Blvd, Palmetto, FL 34221.

    From Monday, May 1 through Thursday, May 11 Ringling College seniors are presenting their final projects in the annual Senior Thesis Exhibitions at the Ringling College galleries, giving the public the opportunity to view work in all media by graduating artists and designers.

    A catered public reception with live music is being held at the galleries at Ringling College on Tuesday, May 9th from 5 – 8 PM. For more details go to https://www.ringling.edu/galleries#seniorthesis

    About Ringling College of Art and Design

    For 85 years, Ringling College of Art and Design has cultivated the creative spirit in students from around the globe. The private, not-for-profit fully accredited college offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ten disciplines and the Bachelor of Arts in two. The College’s rigorous curriculum employs the studio model of teaching and immediately engages students through a comprehensive, first-year program that is both specific to the major of study and focused on the liberal arts. The Ringling College teaching model ultimately shapes students into highly employable and globally aware artists and designers. For more information please visit the Ringling College website at www.ringling.edu, follow us on Facebook, Instagram  and Twitter or call 941.351.5100.