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At 8, she was a painting prodigy. At 17, she wants to be the next great artist.

When Autumn de Forest was 5, she picked up a paintbrush for the first time.


Part kid, part artist.

All photos and images via Autumn de Forest.

It wasn't long before she was ready to show the world what she could do.

The then-6-year-old asked her father if he could get her a booth at a local art-in-the-park program.

"People would come up to the booth, and they would talk to my father, and they'd say, 'This is great!'" she said. "Apparently they thought it was Take Your Daughter to Work Day."

Almost everyone thought the artwork was her father's. And when they found out that tiny Autumn was the artist, people couldn't believe their eyes.

Autumn created this piece when she was just 5 years old.

Soon, Autumn rose to national fame.

When Autumn was 8, she was featured on the Discovery Health Channel. There was a slew of media attention in the years that followed. There was Disney. There was The Today Show. There was Wendy Williams.

She was called a child genius, a prodigy, and an expert painter.

Suddenly, Autumn de Forest was everywhere.

But not everyone was so accepting of the young artist and her work. Some people in the art world had ... questions. Sure, she was good for a kid. But was her art actually good? Others wondered if the whole thing might be an elaborate hoax.

Autumn decided not to listen.

By 14 she developed a startlingly organized daily routine goes far beyond a 9 to 5.

Somehow, as the focus on her age begins to wear off, Autumn's work ethic and art only grow stronger. She said that most days, she'd wake up in her parents' Las Vegas home at 7:30 a.m. After breakfast, she'd break out her supplies for a one- or two-hour painting session.

From there, she dove into her school work. Most brick-and-mortar schools can't accommodate her travel schedule, so she did the majority of her schooling online.

Before dinner, it's back into the studio.

"That session can last much longer, that can be three or four hours when I really get into it," she said. "Then I probably have dinner and go to bed."

The results? They speak for themselves.

Her work has been displayed in galleries and exhibitions all over the world.

Autumn held a public demonstration before a showing at The Butler Institute of American Art.

In 2015, Autumn received the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award in Painting and Art.

The award took her to the Vatican for a private showing of her artwork with the pope.

She's also worked with the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, headed up by Michelle Obama.

As part of the program, de Forest traveled to underprivileged schools around the country and led painting workshops.

Oh, and if you're looking for some hard numbers to attach to Autumn's talent, she's got those, too.

Her paintings have raked in over $7 million at auctions over the years, much of which has gone directly to charities and disaster relief funds.

In 2017, the Monthaven Arts and Cultural Center in Hendersonville, Tennessee hosted a major solo exhibition for de Forest titled "Her White Room: The Art of Autumn de Forest."

That same year, de Forest was listed as one of Teen Vogue's "21 Under 21." In her profile she was praised for her talent as well as her commitment to art education.

"In dis­advantaged schools, they consider the arts an extracur­ricular activity," she told Teen Vogue. "It's devastating, as there could be child prodigies in these schools, but they don't know that they have this God-­given gift because they're not given the opportunity because there's nearly no art programs in schools."

In 2018, de Forest was featured in the music video for the song "Youth" by best-selling recording artists Shawn Mendes and Khalid. The video highlights exceptional young people working to change the world, including de Forest, Emma González, and Elias and Zion Phoenix.

The video has over 17 million plays on YouTube.

via Shawn Mendes / YouTube

Autumn de Forest on Instagram: “@aussiehairusa #purplelining”

Last summer she painted a beautiful mural called "The Purple Lining" at Miami's famed Wynwood Walls that seamlessly incorporated a tree growing behind the wall.

Autumn de Forest on Instagram: “So happy to be apart of @dickiesgirlofficial #independentmaker campaign! @jordankelseyknight @4am_gallery”

She says it's about "having the courage and the freedom to express yourself in whatever outlet you are the most passionate about." Proceeds from a pop-up shop at the mural went to her recently-created foundation.

The Autumn de Forest Foundation, helps her keep track of the kids she's met throughout the years and to continue to help them with their art careers. A portion of the foundation's money goes to a 529 account set up for the students while 10% goes to them directly.

"A lot of these kids that I work with, they're not very old, they're in second grade, third grade, fourth grade. Maybe in 10 years, they may only have four or five thousand dollars but that could be the difference between them going to college or not," Autumn told Teen Vogue.

Autumn's incredible rise in the art world is an astonishing feat for someone who's still in her teens. But that accomplishment is easily matched by her generosity and commitment to helping develop tomorrow's prodigies as well.

For more information, visit the Autumn de Forest Foundation.

This article was originally written by Evan Porter in 2016 and updated by Tod Perry in 2019.

Share image: Autumn de Forest.

Sponsored

This is the most important van in NYC… and it’s full of socks.

How can socks make such a huge difference? You'd be surprised.

all photos provided by Coalition for The Homeless

Every night, the van delivers nourishment in all kinds of ways to those who need it most

True

Homelessness in New York City has reached its highest levels since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Over 50,000 people sleep each night in a shelter, while thousands of others rely on city streets, the subway system and other public locations as spaces to rest.

That’s why this meal (and sock) delivery van is an effective resource for providing aid to those experiencing homelessness in New York City.

Every night of the year, from 7pm to 9:30, the Coalition for the Homeless drives a small fleet of vans to over 25 stops throughout upper and lower Manhattan and in the Bronx. At each stop, adults and families in need can receive a warm meal, a welcoming smile from volunteers, and a fresh, comfy new pair of Bombas socks. Socks may be even more important than you think.

Bombas was founded in 2013 after the discovery that socks were the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.

Access to fresh, clean socks is often limited for individuals experiencing homelessness—whether someone is living on the street and walking for much of the day, or is unstably housed without reliable access to laundry or storage. And for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness —expenses might need to be prioritized for more critical needs like food, medication, school supplies, or gas. Used socks can’t be donated to shelters for hygienic reasons, making this important item even more difficult to supply to those who need it the most.

Bombas offers its consumers durable, long-lasting and comfortable socks, and for every pair of Bombas socks purchased, an additional pair of specially-designed socks is donated to organizations supporting those in need, like Coalition for the Homeless. What started out as a simple collaboration with a few organizations and nonprofits to help individuals without housing security has quickly become a bona fide giving movement. Bombas now has approximately 3,500 Giving Partners nationwide.

Though every individual’s experience is unique, there can frequently be an inherent lack of trust of institutions that want to help—making a solution even more challenging to achieve. “I’ve had people reach out when I’m handing them a pair of socks and their hands are shaking and they’re looking around, and they’re wondering ‘why is this person being nice to me?’” Robbi Montoya—director at Dorothy Day House, another Giving Partner—told Bombas.

Donations like socks are a small way to create connection. And they can quickly become something much bigger. Right now over 1,000 people receive clothing and warm food every night, rain or shine, from a Coalition for the Homeless van. That bit of consistent kindness during a time of struggle can help offer the feeling of true support. This type of encouragement is often crucial for organizations to help those take the next difficult steps towards stability.

This philosophy helped Bombas and its abundance of Giving Partners extend their reach beyond New York City. Over 75 million clothing items have been donated to those who need it the most across all 50 states. Over the years Bombas has accumulated all kinds of valuable statistics, information, and highlights from Giving Partners similar to the Coalition for the Homeless vans and Dorothy Day House, which can be found in the Bombas Impact Report.

In the Impact Report, you’ll also find out how to get involved—whether it’s purchasing a pair of Bombas socks to get another item donated, joining a volunteer group, or shifting the conversation around homelessness to prioritize compassion and humanity.

To find out more, visit BeeBetter.com.

Kids watching their parents dance to Taylor Swift is sheer delight.

We all know parenting can be tough, but if there's one thing that makes the roller coaster of emotions totally worth it, it's seeing our children's faces light up with joy.

Children's smiles are infectious, and not in the scary pandemic kind of a way. There's simply nothing better in this world than the face of a bright-eyed little human beaming with happiness, which is why a recent TikTok trend has people grinning from ear to ear themselves.

The premise is simple: The parent asks the kid to record them dancing to Taylor Swift's "Love Story" with the screen facing away from them (under the guise that the parent dancing needs to see themselves). So instead of recording the parent dancing, it's actually recording the kid's face watching them.

And oh, the love and joy on these kids' faces is so, so sweet to witness. Watch:

@thechavezfamilyy

The end 😭😭 why am I bawling at this trend?! He’s SO CUTE #momsoftiktok #momtok #toddlersoftiktok

That face. OMG.

And check out the encouragement from this little fella:

@themarshhfamily

The end did it for me 🥹😭I birthed such a sweet, loving and encouraging little boy!! #momtok #toddlersoftiktok #taylorswiftchallenge #lovestorychallenge #boymom #toddlermom

Seriously, seeing close-ups of kids' joy should be a daily thing.

@makingthemoffitts

#nationaladoptionmonth #adoptionawareness #thisisadoption #thisisfostercare #adoption #fostercare #makingthemoffitts #lovestorychallenge #taylorswift

Some dads have gotten in on the trend as well. Look at the way this little girl beams at her daddy.

@durbanofamily

Had to jump on the trend! Love this beautiful girl!

Of course, part of the beauty of having kids is you simply never know what they're going to do. While some youngsters gaze lovingly at their parents while they dance, others have a … well … different reaction. Check out this girl's facial expressions:

@haleigh.booth

It’s the side eye at the end for me 😆😂😂😂😂

Hilarious. And because this is the internet, naturally someone had to do the TikTok trend with their dog. Gotta admit, Ellie's toothy grin is pretty darn cute as well.

@elliegoldenlife

This is why I don’t dance 😂

TikTok trends can sometimes be strange, annoying or problematic, but once in a while one comes along that brings people together in surprisingly delightful ways. Seeing people's kids' pure enjoyment watching their parents being silly is simply the best.

Education

Seahorses have a fascinating origin story that explains why they're found in every ocean

Seahorses are some of the world's worst swimmers. Yet they're found in turbulent oceans all across the globe. Why?

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

How did seahorses spread across the globe if they can't swim well?

We all know that seahorses are some of the most unique and fascinating creatures that Mother Nature has to offer.

For one thing, they’re gorgeous. Who has ever looked at a seahorse, with all its vivid colors and delicate, otherworldly shapes and gone, meh? No one, I tell you.

Plus they’re basically the mascot for cool, supportive dads everywhere. Not every creature in the animal kingdom can say that.

Yet, for as much as we know about the seahorse, there are even more thrilling stories swimming around—particularly when it comes to how it got here in the first place.

A video published by PBS Eons explains that today, seahorses are found in all of the world's oceans. And yet, they are pretty terrible swimmers. So how on Earth could they have traveled such far distances to spread across the globe?

As it turns out, the answer is possibly hiding even further below the surface.

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This article originally appeared on 02.07.19


Anyone who owns a dog can attest to the amazing comfort they provide during times of stress or discomfort. Research shows that dogs have a biological effect on us that elevates our levels of oxytocin, which is known as the “love hormone."

Unfortunately, most of the time, dogs aren't allowed in the place where people need comfort the most: hospitals. Even though evidence suggests that that visiting with a pet while hospitalized improves a patient's mood while reducing their anxiety.

A story shared by Reddit user Mellifluous_Username on the online forum is going viral because of the lengths he and his dog went to to visit his sick wife.

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