Isy Mekler, 13, wanted to do a charitable deed in anticipation of his Bar Mitzvah. Because he has always loved reading, he decided that what would be ideal would be to raise money for the early literacy program Reach Out and Read, which gets books to kids who need them.
Isy “wrote to hundreds of artists across the country and asked them to create a work of art that could be auctioned to raise money for books. …
“He was inspired, he said, by a favorite children’s book, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, which has an underlying message about generosity. He e-mailed some 300 artists and illustrators and asked them to paint or illustrate a three-dimensional cardboard tree, which he had manufactured in Colombia.”
About 35 artists responded, throwing “themselves into the project with such enthusiasm that their trees will be exhibited at the Danforth Museum and School of Art’s Children’s Gallery in Framingham, [Massachusetts] beginning in May. The auction, held online, will run concurrently.
“Author-illustrator Grace Lin of Somerville, a Newbery Honor book winner who is enamored of large origami animals, painted a tree with tiny origami birds.
“ ‘Not only was it for a good cause, I thought it would be fun to do,’ said Lin.” (BTW, I wrote about reading her book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon here.)
Read more about Isy’s outreach to artists and the artists’ responses here, in the Boston Globe.