Connors Elementary School student Feza Kisimba takes a break Wednesday morning during her art class at the Lewiston school. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — At just 12 years old, Feza Kisimba is already finding success with her art.

Connors Elementary School art teacher Kelsey Boucher, left, student Feza Kisimba and Tina Edmonds showcase in October the three bags with Kisimba’s design available for purchase from Rogue Wear in Lewiston. Submitted photo

Over the past several weeks, Rogue Wear in Lewiston has been selling totes and pencil bags featuring a bright, stylish painting made by the sixth grader, who attends Connors Elementary School in Lewiston. It’s the latest limited edition design by the Lewiston-based business, which has been selling bags with prints from artists since the midst of the pandemic.

Rogue Wear has received about 100 online orders for the totes and pencil bags thus far. Kisimba will get some of the proceeds, which will go toward purchasing an iPad, Apple pencil, a digital painting program and other art supplies. The company has also collected an additional $700 in donations.

The partnership was born through Kisimba’s art teacher, Kelsey Boucher, whose father owns Rogue Wear.

For years, Boucher has watched Kisimba develop a talent for art far beyond her peers, calling her an “absolute insane artist.” When she came to school with a watercolor painting depicting a fruit salad this fall, Boucher showed it to her father and asked Kisimba whether she might like to work with Rogue Wear.

The bags, which are assembled by hand in Rogue Wear’s Lewiston factory, are made from waterproof canvas. At its center is a leather tag with Kisimba’s signature sewn onto the bag.


“It’s not every day you have a student, let alone an elementary student, have their stuff look so professionally done,” Boucher said.

In October, Boucher and Kisimba visited the factory on Westminster Street to watch several bags with Kisimba’s design being made. She brought one bag home and gave it to her mother. A couple other bags sit in a display case outside Boucher’s classroom at Connors.

Kisimba, a quiet and modest girl, doesn’t seem to understand what the fuss is about. Based on an image she found on Pinterest, she said the design probably took her about three hours to sketch and paint.

“Those don’t take that long to me,” she said. “I made five in a day.”

Most days, Kisimba comes to Boucher’s room during lunch and recess to make art. She brings some supplies home with her, too, to work at home.

Feza Kisimba watches in October as one the bags bearing her watercolor painting of fruit salad is assembled at Rogue Wear’s Lewiston factory. Submitted photo

In class, Kisimba often goes beyond the lesson and rarely needs to start over, Boucher said. She often draws portraits — one of Martin Luther King Jr. sits unfinished in her locker — but she also creates all sorts of quirky designs. One of her pieces simply depicts a girl on a banana phone with the words “ring ring ring.”


“I think, for her, art is just something she does,” Boucher said. “She doesn’t have a reason . . . she just does it, and it’s no big deal to her.”

“There’s no rhyme, there’s no reason, there’s no deep meaning, there’s no essential questions,” she added. “There’s no, you know what I’m saying, (her art) just is. Which is kind of perfect for the art world.”

But art isn’t Kisimba’s only interest, Boucher said. She loves to read, sometimes diving into historical books or researching “really weird, interesting things.”

Outside of school, she’s also a member of Connors’ Civil Rights team, a program that promotes the inclusion of students with diverse identities and backgrounds in school.

“She’s interested in a lot of things,” Boucher said. “People always assume that because she’s so good she’s just going to do something with art, but she hasn’t even thought about it, I’m sure. She just enjoys it.”

The totes will remain on Rogue Wear’s online store for the next few weeks, and some will be available for purchase at their retail store in Lewiston.

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