Glenview artist with Down syndrome donates painting for auction to benefit Greater Chicago Food Depository

GLENVIEW (WLS) -- His parents first put a paintbrush in Emmett Kiyoshi Wilson's hands when he was 4 years old. Little did they know it would soon become his strongest means of communication, and the prolific artist's work would soon fill their home.

"At first we just thought we were just the proud parents," said his father, Paul Wilson. "But everybody who saw it seemed to be moved by his stuff, so that's how this started developing."

Born with Down syndrome, Emmett's family was determined he get the same opportunities as other kids. While writing by hand is a challenge, he expresses himself in brilliant colors and shapes with a paintbrush.

His paintings are in demand, fetching hundreds and even thousands of dollars each. One titled "USA" is hanging in the U.S. embassy in Croatia.

"Quite frankly I can't, I can't do any of this," said his mother, Kathy Menighan Wilson, gesturing to his artwork. "To me, being able to give him the platform to show others is probably the most important thing I could be doing right now."

Emmett is a freshman at Glenbrook South High School doing remote learning like just about everyone else. Coincidently, during ABC7's visit, the accomplished artist was in art class.

Emmett chose the painting titled "Mom's Packed Lunch" to put up for online auction this weekend to raise money for the Chicago Food Depository. He said he chose the painting for the auction because it's very down to earth.

He also hopes to raise awareness of hunger and food insecurity. His family says Emmett is making an impact of his own, by teaching them.

"Emmett every day shows us something new and I almost feel like he's always had that as a mantra, you're going to teach us something new and learn something new every day," his mother said.

Normally Emmett holds a fundraiser every year in a gallery filled with his work, but this year that's not happening, so he moved it to the online auction. That will allow him to deliver a check to the food depository next week - and also volunteer.

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