MADISON, NJ -  Madison will set precedent as the first US town to celebrate the United Nation’s global holiday ‘International Day of Happiness’ (IDoH) designated as March 20th with a 8 weeks long program called “Paint the Town Yellow”.  

The program is a town-wide initiative beginning on Main Street, Madison this March and ending in May to honor National Mental Health Month.

Madison is hoping to ‘Turn Optimism into Action' with the celebration and help "shine a light on depression"­.

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“Madison is a town of doers and dreamers where ‘we the people’ frequently join together to brighten our community through collaborative projects, celebrations and the arts.  We are proud to be among the first towns in America to ‘Paint the Town Yellow’ and officially honor March 20th as International Day of Happiness and May as Mental Health Month.  We invite other towns and cities in the U.S. and around the globe to join in this optimistic movement.” said Robert H. Conley, the Mayor of Madison.

Artists, organizations and the community at large will unite in this initiative. "The pursuit of happiness is a cornerstone of the American Dream, a pursuit that requires action to become reality. From educators and business owners to artists and the Mayor’s Office, the community of Madison NJ is uniting to ‘Turn Optimism into Action’ by Painting the Town Yellow through yellow art exhibits, fundraisers, encouraging everyone to wear yellow, and hosting a series of special events," Whitny Sobala, Co-Founder, UMEWE.

"Like the color pink for breast cancer awareness, Madison’s participation hopes to embolden the color yellow to spill over into more communities, encouraging Optimism in these polarizing times, while also shining a light on Depression," added Sobala.

“Greater awareness and understanding of the challenges of depression, and mental health in general, will only serve to make our community stronger, healthier and more caring," said Diane Mann, CEO, Madison Area YMCA


INT-O Yellow’ (a/k/a ‘International Optimism Yellow’) is a ‘Color with a Cause,’ developed in collaboration with Pantone Color Institute, artist Uncle Riley and UMEWE (pronounced ‘you-me-we’) as a platform for creatives to explore and share Optimism with others. Local business and organizations are participating by ‘adopting’ a piece of INT-O Yellow art from the Peg Williams Art Gallery to prominently display in storefronts and shops, or other prominent public locations, as well as by organizing independent ‘INT-O Yellow’ and optimism-inspired projects for public participation and display, and providing discounts for those wearing yellow on March 20.

“This project was designed as a true platform for participation involving collaboration between companies, the community and creatives.  It’s been exciting to witness everyone coming together, unified by International Optimism Yellow, to celebrate International Day of Happiness, shine a light on Depression and support this emerging art movement we call ‘Optimism," said Sobala


The initiative kicks-off March 11 with a reception and group-show featuring optimism inspired works of art at the Peg Williams Art Gallery at Short Stories Bookstore and Community Hub (23 Main Street., Madison NJ). All artwork features ‘INT-O Yellow’. Local businesses and organizations will continue to host a number of events and activities throughout town, further celebrating optimism and helping to shine a light on depression.

·         Resolution: At the March 6, 2017 Madison Town Hall Meeting (50 Kings Rd., Madison, NJ) the Mayor will declare a town-wide resolution marking Madison’s recognition of March 20 as International Day of Happiness and May as Mental Health Month.

·         Art Exhibition: March 11 thru May 1 anchored at the Peg Williams Gallery within Short Stories Bookshop and Community Hub, works will be displayed, in addition to being distributed throughout town INT-O Yellow paint, pins and t-shirts will also be available for sale at this time.

·         Exhibition Reception & Kick-Off of Town-Wide Celebration with Key Note Speaker: 

March 11  from 3:00p.m.-5:00p.m. at The Peg Williams Gallery within Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub, 23 Main Street, Madison, NJ. Whole Foods of Madison and Gary’s Wine & Marketplace will sponsor the reception, providing free food and wine. 

·         Taste of Madison Benefit Art Auction: On March 20 (International Day of Happiness), Madison will host its annual Taste of Madison fundraiser at the Park Avenue Club in Madison, NJ beginning at 7:00p.m., where chefs from Madison’s finest restaurants serve samples of their best dishes to benefit several Madison-based non-profits.  The event will include a silent auction featuring a popular INT-O Yellow work by artist G. Riley Johndonnell (aka ‘Uncle Riley’) from the Peg Williams Gallery. The piece will be auctioned off to help support The Madison Area YMCA’s Community Mental Health Initiative and UMEWE.

·         Town-Wide Discounts & Events: On March 20, participating retail stores and organizations throughout the town will be providing discounts to customers wearing yellow and hosting optimism-inspired activities and events.

·         Speaker Series: The week of March 20 through April 30 at Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub addressing topics such as Depression, Happiness, Optimism and Ways to Turn Optimism into Action, by an array of various speakers and authors.

·         MACA/DDC Sidewalk Gallery Banner Art Project: Beginning in May, the MACA/DDC Sidewalk Gallery Banner Art project will be returning to Madison for its fourth year. This year, however, the project will be an extension of the “Paint the Town Yellow” campaign, where all artists will be united though their use of International Optimism Yellow.  All banners will be auctioned at the Gala Auction event in October at the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building, with 50% of the sale price going to the artists.


A portion of proceeds from all art sales will benefit the Madison Area YMCA’s Community Mental Health Initiative, the New Jersey Art Community, and UMEWE (a social benefit corporation which supports Optimistic public art and design).


Lead UMEWE collaborators and partners for “Paint the Town Yellow” include Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub, The Borough of Madison, The Madison Downtown Development Commission, and The Madison Area YMCA.  Additional collaborators include the Madison Chamber of Commerce, Madison Arts & Culture Alliance (MACA), The Pantone Color Institute, participating Madison-based businesses and organizations and participating NJ artists and musicians.


Short Stories Bookshop & Community Hub, Whole Foods, Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, Kitts & Co., Cramer’s Carpet & Home, Weichert, Jolie, Eyeglass Shoppe, Healthy Italia, Adams Dental, Waxing the City, Madison PhotoPlus, Chef Loryn’s, Redux, The Bar Method Madison, Beneath the Surface, Chatham Bookseller, Chaise Fitness, Madison Pharmacy, Madison Mud, FDU Credit Union.