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A mixed-media collage by Forest Park Elementary School kindergartner Joshua Martufi, pictured above, and, yarn and glue piece by Davisville Middle School sixth-grader Mia Esposito, pictured below, are included in the North Kingstown School Department’s K-12 Student Art Show at the North Kingstown Free Library.

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Color evokes many emotions, memories and ideas, which local school children are putting in a kaleidoscope of colors on display at the North Kingstown Public Library.

It is all part of International Colour Day — marked on March 21 to celebrate color. The International Colour Association (abbreviated as AIC for its French name, Association Internationale de la Couleur), created the annual celebration held in more than 30 countries.

“Arts education programs in our schools are more important than ever post pandemic. The visual arts foster strong connections to classroom curriculum and community all while boosting confidence and self-awareness,” said Danielle Singh, the school system’s visual arts co-curriculum coordinator for elementary schools.

Work representing the radiance of hues will be on display until March 31 through the choices of more than 150 children‘s works, colors and designs. They represent all of the town’s schools.

“(Color) is one of the most influential phenomena in people’s lives and also one of the channels that contributes most greatly to the perception of reality,” according to the association.

The North Kingstown Arts Council has helped bring this event to North Kingstown schools since 2015 when it was first introduced by late council member Guy Lefebre.

In addition, the North Kingstown Schools Art Department puts on an annual student exhibit for students in grades K-12.

This art show is its largest arts department collaboration and held in conjunction with Youth Arts Month in March, according to Singh.

In a 2015 interview, Lefebvre, then secretary of the Arts Council, said International Colour Day would offer the perfect opportunity for a collaboration. And, in the context of art and color, who better to collaborate with than the town’s school department?

“Arts education is important to quality education,” he said and highlighted the importance of, for example, theater programs in schools, when students have the opportunity to work together with all elements of a production.

“In addition to arts education, International Colour Day in North Kingstown also encourages a ‘think global, act local’ perspective, which is important in today’s world of high speed Internet communication and media as well as the increasing frequency of world travel and economic activity,” Lefebvre said.

The North Kingstown Arts Council on March 7 honored the following students for their work: Jamie Tamboe, grade 10, Megan Foy, grade 12, Ethan Meriano, grade 6, Mikayla Soccoccio, grade 7, Julia Serrecchia, grade 1, Madeline Kennedy, grade 4, Aryan Puranik, grade 1, Grace Potter, grade 5 and Merlyn Fernandes Ortega, grade 4.

Learning about art, which prominently includes color, is as much a part of education as reading, writing and arithmetic, according to educators.

As part of this effort to broaden perspectives about art, color and creation, professional artists, such as Art Professor Jason Travers, have given talks during this celebration on color. His talk in 2015 focused on “History and Innovation in the Use of Color in Art.”

He taught color theory at Rhode Island College and Rhode Island School of Design. At the time, he promoted global thought in the context of art, including the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists and their innovations of color influenced 20th century thought.

He noted famous “colorists,” such as Peter Paul Rubens, Eugène Delacroix, Vincent van Gogh, but as well that a “colorist” is not someone who uses a lot of color, but is someone who uses color lively, he said. Take Delacroix, for example.

“When a viewer looks at his paintings, they might notice that not a lot of color is used. It’s what he’s doing with color in the details. [Delacroix] tweaks color in a very subtle way in order to create luminosity,” he said at the time.

Several years before North Kingstown started the celebration, a worldwide day of color was first proposed in 2008 by the Portuguese Color Association. In 2009 members of the international association agreed to the concept and later March 21 was adopted as the official date.

Tapping into this idea, Singh explained how this goes from a global to local.

“The show allows us to first and foremost display the many talents of our incredible students, highlight the rich programs offered by our dedicated art educators and promote the importance of arts education in our schools,” Singh said.

Write to Bill Seymour, a freelance writer covering news and feature stories, at independent.southcountylife@gmail.com.

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