Autumn colors at Archbishop Damiano School

Written by Peter G. Sánchez

Autumn de Forest, a 16-year-old artist, visited Archbishop Damiano School in Westville Grove last week, providing students the “opportunity to express creativity without limitation,” as school Principal Kate Flynn said.

Autumn is more than a teenager with artistic talent. She received the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award for Painting and Art in 2015, an award given by the Vatican for talented young individuals in the field of art and knowledge, but also serving as positive role models. After receiving the award, she presented Pope Francis with four of her works.

She is represented by Park West Gallery and been featured in numerous television shows and print publications, from the Today Show to American Girl Magazine to Forbes. She has reportedly sold millions of dollars worth of paintings.

When not at her private studio in Las Vegas, Autumn shares her time and talents with school youth and organizations across the globe. She has contributed to several charitable causes, such as the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity and relief efforts in Haiti, Japan, and the United States. A recent profile in Nevada Magazine stated that she is “serious about changing the world for the better.”

Carla Garcia-Perez (above), a student at Archbishop Damiano School, Westville Grove, stands next to the self-portrait she created during a visit to the school by Autumn de Forest, a teenage art prodigy, on Sept. 24. Below, Autumn and school principal Kathleen Flynn help Carla with her work. Photos by Alan M. Dumoff

Her Sept. 24 visit to Archbishop Damiano, a school which aids and educates adults and children with disabilities, saw students trace over a photographed headshot of themselves, and then create their own masterpiece portraits with brush and paint.

Although she has an artistic family heritage and has been a professional artist for most of her young life, Autumn is self-taught.

Not surprising then that she urged the Archbishop Damiano students, “There are no rules, just have fun and express yourself.”

Praising their “creativity, love, and zest for life,” she hoped the workshop provided for them the same outlet that putting mind to brush to canvas gives her: “A voice, purpose, and a way to communicate my feelings.”