World Art Day is an international celebration of the fine arts which was declared by the International Association of Art (IAA) in order to promote awareness of creative activity worldwide
A proposal was put forward at the 17th General Assembly of the International Association of Art in Guadalajara to declare April 15 as World Art Day, with the first celebration held in 2012. It was accepted unanimously by the General Assembly.
This proposal was sponsored by Bedri Baykam of Turkey and co-signed by Rosa Maria Burillo Velasco of Mexico, Anne Pourny of France, Liu Dawei of China, Christos Symeonides of Cyprus, Anders Liden of Sweden, Kan Irie of Japan, Pavel Kral of Slovakia, Dev Chooramun of Mauritius, and Hilde Rognskog of Norway.
The date was decided in honor of the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci.
Da Vinci was chosen as a symbol world peace, freedom of expression, tolerance, brotherhood and multiculturalism as well as art’s importance to other fields.
The first World Art Day on April 15, 2012 was supported by all IAA national committees and 150 artists, including those of France, Sweden, Slovakia, South Africa, Cyprus and Venezuela, but the intention of the event is universal.
Events varied from special museum hours to conferences and more. For example Venezuela held outdoor art exhibitions with paintings, sculptures, prints, video and more, as well as a Florentine cooking demonstration in honor of Da Vinci.
More events were held in 2013 all over the world including the Mbombela municipal art museum in South Africa.
World Art Day has also been supported online, especially by the Google Art Project.
“Art nurtures creativity, innovation and cultural diversity for all peoples across the globe and plays an important role in sharing knowledge and encouraging curiosity and dialogue. These are qualities that art has always had, and will always have if we continue to support environments where artists and artistic freedom are promoted and protected. In this way, furthering the development of art also furthers our means to achieve a free and peaceful world,” says UNESCO
Each year, on 15 April, World Art Day celebrations help reinforce the links between artistic creations and society, encourage greater awareness of the diversity of artistic expressions and highlight the contribution of artists to sustainable development. It is also an occasion to shine a light on arts education in schools, as culture can pave the way for inclusive and equitable education.
There is much to learn, share and celebrate on World Art Day, and UNESCO encourages everyone to join in through various activities such as debates, conferences, workshops, cultural events and presentations or exhibitions.