Painting for a Cure

A Florida teen sells her artwork to raise money for JDRF.



“There’s always room for art~ it’s what I do…” These words belong to Amber Hall, a Florida teen with Type 1 diabetes who has found a novel way to raise money for diabetes research. Hall has been painting since five years old, when she first began to add acrylic and watercolor to her drawings; she has been living with T1D since age eight. Now, at 15, she’s combining these two experiences. She’s painting to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Hall chose JDRF because of the organization’s efforts to increase awareness of and fund research for Type 1 diabetes. This past weekend, the Outer Space Gallery and Studio in Winter Haven, Florida, hosted a two-day exhibit of Hall’s original work. According to advertisements for the event, twenty percent of art sales will be donated to the foundation. There were also raffles, JDRF bracelets, and jewelry for sale to benefit the charity. Insulin Nation reached out to the artist to inquire about the success of the event, but still has not heard back.

Prior to the event, Hall told a local news outlet, “I want to raise whatever I can. I just want to give back to something that has helped me so much.” She added, “When you’re young, they (JDRF) help with supplies, give you classes to help you understand the disease. And they’re working to find a cure for diabetes; that’s a plus.”

Representatives from the Central Florida chapter of JDRF nearest to Hall are both grateful and impressed. Martin Bernstine, the executive director, said, “As a young adult growing up with the disease, she’s dealing with a lot. She’s doing an amazing thing to help everyone living with diabetes and using her talents to create awareness.”

Amber has her mother to thank for conceiving of the art show. Leslie Hall came across a magazine article about the Gallery while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. The article indicated that Outer Space occasionally featured young artists. So, she reached out to the administrators and made arrangements to show samples of her daughter’s portfolio to the resident artist. Needless to say, this artist and other gallery representatives were eager to showcase Amber’s work.

Some of the paintings are inspired by Amber’s experiences living with a chronic disease, but others are not. Hall included various cosmic-themed pencil sketches of human subjects and elements from the natural world, such as “Moonlight,” a sketch of a tree with a mini-galaxy nested in its trunk. She is not afraid to experiment with different genres and forms. According to her website, her portfolio includes pieces that can be characterized as Abstract, Modern, Contemporary, Cartoon, Pop Art, and Mix Media.

The fifteen-year-old aspires to one day become a professional author and illustrator.
Looks like she’s well on her way to realizing this dream. By visiting her website, you can see samples of her work, link to her Etsy store, or commission your own piece.

Know of any other individuals doing similar work? Let us know by writing to submissions@insulinnation.com

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Audrey Farley is a former editor of Insulin Nation.