Budding artists put their best feet, brushes, voices and ideas forward last week in a festival of color and talent staged on the lawn of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, 35th and R streets NW.

Nearly 200 D.C. public schoolchildren exhibited their artistic abilities to celebrate the end of the first city-wide summer school for the arts in several years.

The young people, 5 to 19 years old, most of whom had had no previous artistic training, spent six weeks learning dance, drama, music and the visual arts.

More than 40 pieces of tapestry, ceramics, drawings and watercolors created by the visual arts students were displayed inside the school and behind the performance area.

The program also included a three-person recitation from "A Raisin in the Sun," several dances and skits, created mainly by the students, as well as poetry and elementary and intermediate band performances.

"They were beautiful kids to work with," dance instructor Lynn Welters said between hugs and kisses from her tired, happy performers. "We'd drive up in the morning, and the kids would be here waiting."

The summer school classes were free to any student who attends public school in the District. The Duke Ellington School of the Arts provided all band instruments and art supplies. It is one of the few public schools in the country with a curriculum of performing arts classes. CAPTION: Picture 1, Among the public school students who attended free summer arts classes were Lisa Williams, 15, who displayed a clay pot she made in art class; Picture 2, A modern dance group that fanned across the Ellington school grounds to perform; Picture 3, Young musicians who offered "Introduction to Ensemble." By Tom Allen - The Washington Post