Sunday, November 15, 2009

Raising Money For Autism With Talent & A Love for Animals

Every once in awhile with no explanation,  sometimes with no warning, there is something that  moves us, that finds us inspired, giving us a a desire to share with others.  This can be a moment, a visual or perhaps a touching story.  That moment happened to me recently as I was perusing one of my all time favorite publications,  Traditional Home.  The November 2009 issue is filled with pages of the 2009 Classic Woman Awards, which share the stories of the devoted women that are caring and the ways they give back.   These women are all  inspirational with their amazing stories,  and one of these women, Kathryn Finney, a talented artist from Des Moines, is the heart warming story I am touched/inspired by that I would like to share. 


Artist Kathryn Finney is a  loving mom of an 11 year old son, Arthur who is autistic. Kathryn,  a devoted  mom, speaks fondly about her son  when asked to share some words. Arthur is a blessing and teaches me something every day. He is not very verbal, but works hard to please us/his teachers and enjoys his schoolwork. He has a long way to go to develop the skills to enable him to function independently in this world. It is, I'm sure, every mother's dream for normalcy for their child. This has always been our normal and we do believe there is something that he can contribute and we will find those skills and nurture him.”

One way she helps her son Arthur develop his skills is through participation in dog agility training as  part of his therapy.  Kathryn feels extremely blessed for the help she receives with Arthur’s  therapies and is gratified by any way she is able to give back.  She combines her love of animals and her talents to create wonderful pet portraiture.  25% of the price of all prints purchased from Finney Fun now through December 31, 2009 will  go to OAR (Organization for Autism Research) to benefit those with autism.  Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a neurological disorder that impairs a person's ability to communicate and form relationships with other people.

image     image      image Kathryn’s pet portraiture began 12 years ago when she painted her own Old English Sheepdog.   Animal owners can submit favorite photos of their beloved pets to give her an idea of the pet’s personality to allow her to transform them into a memorable painting that all pet owners will cherish.

Kathryn’s  fun, happy, touching art would fit in many places in a home,  especially in a child’s room, where they would be sure to put a smile on their faces.

image    Trad Home Kathryn Finney Golden ret art   image 

Kathryn Finney shows her caring and kindness in more ways than one. “With Arthur being autistic, I don't find it unusual to try to do something for the helping and inner healing of children with autism.  I starting raising funds for the Organization for Autism Research three years ago by running the Chicago Marathon. I thought, if I'm running, I should see if there is a relevant charity to contribute something for my efforts. The response to a short letter to family and friends was so overwhelming that three years later, I've raised over $23,000 and it continues.” 

Her generosity is also apparent in her volunteer work with a local Human Services agency where she teaches several autistic adults how to paint.  They come to my studio garage, have fun, and learn the rewards of painting. You would be amazed at their abilities. Often, I'm humbled by their talent.”

Kathryn also works with photographs to create colorful garden plans and landscape drawings to create beautiful works of art. 



Another notable mention raising money for Autism research, awareness and care, is:
The Acoustic for Autism Compilation, featuring compelling independent (and in some cases, unreleased) music specifically chosen to convey themes of hope and healing. image

 I highly recommend the purchase of these beautiful songs worthy of a great cause.  They are available everywhere digital music is sold, such as I-Tunes and Amazon.

Acoustic for Autism is a collaboration between childhood friends Louis Gendron and Michael Cusanelli. After 20 years, they reconnected and discovered the many things they still had in common, including careers in the entertainment industry, a continued passion for music, and the way autism had touched both of their families.

Acoustic for Autism relies solely on word of mouth, so please tell others about this lovely music, and of Louis and Michael’s generosity to donate 100% of the net proceeds to autism charities for research, awareness and care.

CD’s will be available mid December.


  1. Oh this is a beautiful post. It is nice to read about women making a difference. I also have an autistic nephew and I am an animal lover so I really enjoyed reading this.

  2. Thank you for sharing this story with us! It's so remarkable how both art and animals can have such a therapeutic benefit--and wonderful to see those two influences coming together!

  3. Kathryn's story is very inspiring. Thanks for this read.