Living Color, a project initiated by Luanne Stovall in Boston, 2003, involves extensive research into the nature of color and its role in the world. Research led to the development of A New Field Guide to Color, an interdisciplinary course taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2003-6) as a new way to understand the color as a basic form of non-verbal communication. The course addressed advances in color by key figures such as Newton, Goethe, Chevereul, Maxwell, Munsell, Itten, Kandinsky, and Albers through readings, discussion, and “hands-on” experimentation. Topics also included the history of colored pigments and dyes, color codes operating in religion, art, architecture, biology, heraldry, social ranking, fashion, film, psychology, and popular culture.
Relocating to Austin, the concept evolved into an interdisciplinary signature course on the UT campus: Living Color: Light, Science, Art, Architecture, & Culture (2007-9) team taught with Dr. Nancy Kwallek, Program Director, Interior Design/ School of Architecture. The goal is to promote an environment of inquiry, research, and collaboration regarding the multi-layered roles of color in order to more skillfully integrate color into our built environment. This course offers a new lens to explore color through structured studio projects, lectures with experts from diverse disciplines, field trips, and readings. The Living Color Classes produced the Living Color Harvest Mandala in 2007, the Harvest Mandala Food Drive in 2008, and the 3rd Harvest Mandala Food Drive, 2009 (which collected donations of over 1900 pounds of food for the Capital Area Food Bank of Central Texas). The goal was is enact living color as a force for positive social change and to embrace the Sustainable Food Center’s mission of promoting wellness while strengthening the local food system.