ESL Jefferson Award winner: Young artist raises funds for medically fragile children |

ESL Jefferson Award winner: Young artist raises funds for medically fragile children

Updated: May 21, 2020 06:34 PM
Created: May 21, 2020 06:00 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A talented artist is selling her paintings to raise funds for a program that helps medically fragile children.

The artist we're telling you about is only 11 years old, and now she's an ESL Jefferson Award winner. 

With one stroke comes so much good. 

"I love doing landscapes," Maia Bastianelli said. "Italy is so pretty. I've been doing a lot of water scenes, too. Water has been in most of my paintings, and gardens and flowers."

This is more than just a casual art experience for Bastianelli.

"When I was little, I loved doing these twisty trees," she said. "Those have always been my favorite."

Now, with more than half of her life invested in her work, the 5th grader from Pittsford has a refined sense of the imagery in her paintings.

What started as finger painting at a very young age has blossomed into a fundraising campaign that has generated nearly $55,000 for Daystar, New York state’s only pediatric day-respite center.

"I went to Daystar, and I met a bunch of their kids," she said. "I did a craft and read a story to them. All of the kids there are so special and sweet."

Notecards of Bastianelli's artwork sell in packs for $10 at various stores around Rochester. 

As interest in her artwork began to soar and donations poured in by the thousands, her mom, Katie, said that her focus remained on her art and the help it provides.

"Obviously, I'm extremely proud of her, and she's always stayed humble, no matter how big this is getting," Katie said. "It doesn't matter what it is, she's always thinking of the feelings of someone else."

Bastianelli hopes her art inspires even the youngest collector to be more giving.

"I hope that other kids out there realize that they don't have to be a certain age to make a difference in someone else's life," she said. "If they think they can, they can."

Learn more about Daystar here

Click here to see more of Bastianelli's work.

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