Emile passed away on December 5, 2020 at the HopeHealth Hulitar Hospice Center from COVID-related complications. He was 77. Emile was a prolific artist, outdoorsman, gourmet cook and inspirational teacher to multiple generations of art students.
A talented sculptor and painter, Emile filled his home with beautiful artwork. He drew much of his inspiration from nature and was often happiest outdoors – hiking, hunting or foraging for mushrooms or shellfish. In every aspect of his life, he was a teacher: helping art students assemble their portfolios, showing his children and grandchildren how to identify birds by the sound of their call, how to net blue crabs, how to walk quietly in the forest, and how to make homemade pasta.
Emile earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from what is now UMass Dartmouth, followed by a Master of Arts in Teaching from the Rhode Island School of Design. He taught art at Mount Hope High School for over 30 years and then at The Moses Brown School in Providence. Emile opened a world of creativity and imagination for countless students and provided encouragement and mentoring to many who went on to study and pursue art careers. His art room was known as a safe haven where students could express themselves freely, would be listened to, and would receive encouragement and validation. Students with all sorts of interests gravitated toward his art room, not just those who wanted to learn more about ceramics, drawing or painting. Students found great comfort in his demeanor – he was approachable, dependable, gentle and had a quirky sense of humor.
Our family is establishing the Emile J. Ferrara Scholarship fund to honor Emile’s legacy and to help Rhode Island students who are aspiring to pursue a career in art attend college.
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