Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Helping Kids Goal of His Art

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Helping Kids Goal of His Art

Article excerpt

An idea popped into the head of 4-year-old Jaiden Latsko as he watched the movie "Curly Sue." Why not sell his paintings to buy toys?

Janae Latsko thought her son was demonstrating characteristics of a budding entrepreneur, but she didn't understand his plan.

"I want to buy toys for kids who don't have a home -- like Curly Sue," he explained to his mother.

The Ross boy said he noticed the homeless heroine of the 1991 film -- that begins with a scam that she and her partner pull on a rich woman who gives them a taste of luxury -- had one beloved ring but no toys.

Now three weeks into their project, the Latskos have sold more than $300 worth of the child's canvas acrylic paintings, mostly through a Facebook page. His work is priced between $20 and $40, depending on size. He also makes personalized pieces by allowing customers to request colors.

"He paints whatever comes to him," Mrs. Latsko said. "He'll just draw crazy shapes and do splotches of color. Then he looks at it and tells me what it is."

Among pieces sold thus far to friends, family and complete strangers, are "Caterpillars In The Rain," "Rain Dude" and "The Zoo," as well as a series of personalized works.

Mrs. Latsko started a nonprofit organization, Art For Others, with Jaiden as CEO, in order to make all contributions tax deductible. She plans to donate sale proceeds to a nonprofit benefitting children, such as The Children's Institute and Make-A- Wish Foundation.

Her goal is to raise $5,000 with $1 from every sale going toward supplies.

"As long as he wants to paint, we will keep it up and running," she said.

Jaiden's work has been inspirational for a class of preschoolers at All Kids Are Special Learning Center in New Kensington.

Their teacher, Rebecca Knapp, heard about the project and ordered a piece with red, white and blue colors that now hangs in their classroom. …

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