Daily Archives: August 14, 2012

True Colours

Artists (I know a few of them) are nice people. They’re creative and interesting. Sure, they tend towards the flamboyant and excitable, sometimes the mildly alcoholic. Almost without exception, though, they’re unfailingly fun to be around.

I have a feeling that artist Jenny Lynn Unrein is more of the straight-and-narrow type. But if her work is any indication, she’s bright and she’s colourful and full of cheer.

“JennyLU,” as she’s known, is in her 20s and devoted to her art. She sells prints, notecards and calendars on her website. But Jenny also displays an eternal willingness to donate art to charitable organizations. Why? “It’s showing that you care about them. It’s showing respect and kindness,” Jenny tells me. And: “It helps me to give back.”

I first heard about Jenny through my friend’s new book, Flourish, profiling people with disabilities who live vibrant, passionate lives. Jenny has Williams syndrome, a rare genetic developmental disorder. Her stepmom Wendi says that when it comes to people with this condition, the urge to help others is “in their DNA!” (She’s right on the nose, as the gene differences lead to various likeable personality traits.)

Admit it: Jenny’s art lifts your spirits. But you don’t have to have Williams syndrome to want to help others. Maybe we need a name for the condition that we’re all born with, this drive to make a difference that is widespread in our species. Big-heart syndrome? My guess, people, is that you all test positive…

Sunflower art by Jenny Lynn Unrein

“Make a Difference,” by JennyLU Designs. You bet you will, Jenny.