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Director Kevin Lima returns to his roots for Pawtucket Hall of Fame ceremony


Hollywood director Kevin Lima, whose work has included both animated and live-action films, said his hometown of Pawtucket is where he became an artist and met some of his most influential mentors.

He returns on Friday to be inducted into the Pawtucket Hall of Fame.

"I can't honestly remember a time when I didn't draw and make things," he said. Lima, 55, remembers seeing Disney's "The Jungle Book" movie when he was about 5. "I turned to my mother and said, 'I'm going to make that when I grow up.'"

Raised by a single mom, Lima did not have an easy childhood. He said art became a kind of refuge.

A 1980 graduate of Tolman High School, Lima said he as inspired by art teacher (and illustrator) Robert Venditto.  With the support of his grandmother, Lima met Marc Kohler of The Puppet Workshop, where he would work over the summers until his third year of college.  The Puppet Workshop, he said, supported his dual love of making things and telling stories.

Lima started his college career at Emerson College in Boston, studying theater, but after a year switched to the West Coast to enroll at the California Institute of the Arts, which had developed a reputation as a training ground for Disney animators. But the year Lima graduated, Disney didn't hire anyone.


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