Artists tend to see the world a little bit differently. It’s what makes their work unique and inimitable, after all.
At just 12 years old, Arsh Pal of Dubuque, Iowa has an unusually clear vision of the world around him. His innate empathy and talent have guided him from a young age, and now he’s being recognized at an international level for his mission of kindness towards others.
Arsh started painting when he was 8, and some relatives gave him watercolors and supplies for his birthday. He took to art instantly — creating bright, splashy canvasses of abstract images, landscapes, animal portraits, and images copied from photographs. Over time, he started giving the paintings away to friends and family, including residents at a nursing home where his mother works as an occupational therapist.
While visiting the care center, Arsh noticed residents looking bored and lonely, so he volunteered to give painting lessons. He also swings by just to chat and play games.
When he asked his mother if he could start selling his paintings to raise money for charity, she agreed to help him. They selected St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as the first recipient of his generosity, setting a goal of raising $1,000.
“Originally, my first goal was raising $1,000 for St. Jude Research Hospital,” Arsh said. “Everybody kind of doubted me because I was so young, but when I did raise $1,000 everybody was surprised.”
Over the next four years, Arsh continued to sell his work for St. Jude’s, as well as a few other charities like Easterseals, Make-a-Wish, and Compass to Care. So far, he’s raised over $15,000, and he has no intention of quitting anytime soon!
Arsh has already received recognition for his humanitarian efforts, including a prestigious award that came straight from Kensington Palace in the United Kingdom. Arsh was one of just 180 people aged 9 to 25 to receive the Diana Award, named after the late Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales.
“I received the Diana Award because Princess Diana thought young people have the power to change the world,” Arsh explained. “It feels good that they looked for me, and they chose me for the award.”
Arsh was particularly proud to receive the Diana Award because he comes from a small town in Iowa, and he’s proud to represent The Hawkeye State.
“I’m from Iowa and everybody else is from everywhere else,” he said. “I feel really happy that I’m getting it because it’s a pretty big award. Princess Diana represents charitable work and helping the community, so that’s kind of what I do.”
As for what’s next, Arsh hopes to continue painting and giving back to organizations that help children. He also wants to make art more accessible for everyone, staying true to his ideals of changing the world through art.
Arsh has already accomplished so much in his young life! He’s found a way to use his talent to help others, which is the best use we can think of. Well done, young man.
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