Since 2006 I've made it a point to give back through my artwork. While the work itself is significant and has meaning for me, and art does heal people's soul, I want my efforts to have more of an impact. While I've been growing my business and raising young kids, the best way I can do that is through charitable giving. Over the past decade I've worked with and donated to Kaleidoscope for Hope, Project Self-Sufficiency, Quinlan Hospice, Birth Haven, Oasis of NJ, and Dining for Women, among others.
Recently, I've been wanting to help a lot of different organizations, and with the state of the world now, there seemed to be too many good organizations to choose just one. Until recently, I met Whitny Sobala, wife of photographer, John Sobala, who was exhibiting at a show with me in Madison, NJ. In our conversations about the recent election, we ended up talking about her start-up UMEWE, which is an "art and design collaborative founded with the conceptual artist, Uncle Riley, and supports, promotes and disseminates Optimistic 'tools' and works of public art." UMEWE worked together with Uncle Riley and Pantone to develop INT-O YELLOW which aims to promote a new movement in art, "Optimism," and through it "heal depression, end suffering and save lives."
The week after the election, I and several other artist friends were talking about the relevance of our work. I felt stymied and that I needed to somehow shift what I was doing. How could I possibly continue work that was "happy"? It was then that she told me about INT-O YELLOW and their mission to heal depression. She told me it was more important than ever to communicate positivity. She spoke about the psychological power of the color yellow, and I told her about my prior aversion to the color. Only in a recent, pivotal painting, (see below) have I embraced the color yellow. Then it hit me - depression. That was it. Depression is personal, both to me, and many members of my family. After a quick google search on depression, I came across the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
I was amazed at the work they are doing and how much they focus on, beyond depression alone. 100% of their donor contributions go to researchers through awarded grants for advancing the understanding and treatment of ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, OCD, PTSD, Schizophrenia, and other illnesses. Additionally, they are 4-star rated by Charity Navigator.
So in light of the "Optimism" movement, I'm donating 20% of direct sales of art, today, #GivingTuesday, thru the month of December to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. I'm keeping my work positive, for now, and hoping that this helps bring just a little more happiness, both to the collectors of my work, and those struggling with mental illness. And, maybe you'll find me using INT-O Yellow in my art sometime soon. In the meantime, you can explore some of my work in my online shop and add something optimistic to your home!
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Sometimes called the Kitchen God's Artist, I'm balancing mothering two energetic sons, a big mutt Ringo, making and teaching art. TraillWorks is the apron under which I create and teach. My own art develops mostly in my West Orange home studio, but is sometimes spurred through my teaching, which takes place at Oh! Canary Studio, located in Maplewood, NJ.
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