Archive for Thursday, May 5, 2005

Art for Arthritis draws on pair from Lansing

May 5, 2005

In Jacob Nye's latest masterpiece, his toy truck collection came in handy.

Nye, a Lansing Intermediate School fourth-grader, combined his love for monster trucks and art through his work, "Truck tracks" a painting he helped create for the Arthritis Foundation's Art for Arthritis project.

Doctors from KU Medical Center and Children's Mercy Hospital recommended their children patients from the Kansas City area to be one of the 12 area youths selected to participate in the program. Brooke Mortsolf, a Lansing Elementary School first-grader, was another of the youths selected.

The children paired up with local artists to create paintings that were auctioned off to benefit arthritis research at the Art for Arthritis benefit on April 28 at Leedy Voulkos Art Center in Kansas City. The works also will be published in a calendar and greeting cards, which also are for sale.

Jacob Nye

Jacob Nye

Paintings sold anywhere from $200 to $1,000. The benefit, which included a $50-a-plate dinner, the auction, and another silent action, raised more than $33,000. Twenty-five percent of the money raised will go to the national level of the foundation to help find cures for the disease. The rest of the money will stay in the Kansas City area for events for the foundation, said Christy Simons, a representative from the foundation.

Brooke Mortsolf

Brooke Mortsolf

The work that Nye created with Tobias Hathorn, "Truck Tracks" included tracks from trucks in Jacob's collection. It raised $400 for the foundation at the benefit.

Brooke Mortsolf and her co-creator, Tim Driver, painted "Brooke's Flowers" which sold for $550.

Both Jacob and his sister, Jennifer, have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Jacob's case of polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is more serious, and requires visits to the doctor every three months.

Jennifer, Jacob and Brooke are all patients of Carol Lindsley, a pediatric rheumatologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Jacob's condition does not stop him from doing what makes him happy.

"Jacob has always wanted to be one of three things: a profession artist, a soccer player, or a monster truck driver," Jacob's mother Joan Nye said.

It is important for children with JRA to stay active, Joan Nye said. Jacob does that with a smile. He plays competitive soccer for two teams.

"Whether he wins or loses or is hurting, he's always smiling," Joan Nye said. "This was really good for him because it helped him to be able to associate positive things with arthritis."

ART for Arthritis was another way for Jacob to fulfill his dreams and keep a positive attitude.

"He's always been the crafty one," Joan said. "He sees empty paper roll or Kleenex boxes and saves them to make things. Jake loves building things with boxes and tape."

This made being paired with Hathorn, an architect, an even more rewarding experience for Nye.

The pair decided to use toy trucks to create his painting when Hathorn picked up on Jacob's love for monster trucks on a questionnaire he filled out.

Jacobo brought his toy monster trucks of all different sizes to Hathorn's home when they started to work on the painting in February. The painting is made up entirely of truck tracks.

"They didn't use a paint brush at all, Joan Nye said.

Jacob said he and Hathorn pursued another artistic avenue while they waited for the various layers of paint to dry on "Truck Tracks" - "We played guitar, the drums and listened to records."

"He was the coolest guy in the world," Joan said.

Brooke's mother, Tamra Mortsolf, said the involvement Brooke had with the project was most rewarding aspect of it. She even found joy in the simple tasks.

"I think she enjoyed washing the brushes as much as she liked painting," Tamra Mortsolf said. "She looked forward to changing colors."

After it was all finished, it was Brooke's touches that made the work so special.

"Every piece of the painting she personally touched," Tamra said.

Joan Nye said that for Jacob the most rewarding part of the experience was the fact that he got to do something that is real art and helps kids like himself and his sister and Brooke.


A 2006 wall calendar or a boxed set of greeting cards featuring paintings from the Art for Arthritis benefit is available for $12 plus $2 shipping.

For information on how to buy either, contact the Arthritis Foundation of Western Missouri/Greater Kansas City Chapter, (816) 753-2220.


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