Children’s Illustrators Donate Artwork to Benefit Local Kids

Through 'We Art Boston', local artists are using their creative skills to benefit Boston Children's Hospital.


“Catie at the Copley” by Jared Williams will be for sale at the ‘We Art Boston’ auction. All photos provided.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, 40 of the country’s top children’s book illustrators are donating their original artwork in an online auction that will benefit the Emergency and Trauma Fund at Boston Children’s Hospital.

The fundraising campaign, which is called We Art Boston, is Brookline artist Joe McKendry’s effort to give back to Boston after April’s tragedy. He says he was on a run after the bombing when he decided that he wanted to do something for the children of his city. “At first I thought that I’d just auction off some of my own paintings and give the money to the One Fund,” he says, “but then I realized that I could get more people together to do that, too. I came home, talked to my wife, and we decided that we wanted to focus our efforts on the children who were affected by the bombings. Boston Children’s was the first place that came to mind.”

McKendry contacted his friends who are also children’s illustrators, and says that their responses to his idea were immediately positive. There are 40 children’s illustrators on board for the event, a number which continues to grow each week. The fundraiser will include an online auction of children’s artwork on October 11, which will be followed by a family event with food trucks, art activities for kids, and live music on the Rose Kennedy Greenway on October 20. Art from Scott Magoon (“The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot”), Matt Tavares (“Zachary’s Ball” and “Twas the Night Before Christmas”), and McKendry himself (“Beneath the Streets of Boston: Building America’s First Subway”) will be featured in the auction, as well as art from many other childrens’ illustrators.


“All the other folks were out to jog” by Brian Lies will be for sale at the auction.

“I wanted to focus specifically on kids and on the healing power of art,” McKendry says. “This event isn’t about money, either. Obviously it’s great to raise money for Boston Children’s, but it’s mostly about involvement and doing something to help the community heal. It feels good to take action.”

McKendry hopes to raise at least $20,000 through We Art Boston. He’s also planned an event he calls the “Stuffed Animal Portrait Party” at Porter Square Books on October 5th to raise awareness for his campaign. At the party, customers can bring in their favorite stuffed animals and McKendry and his artistic friends will draw an original picture of the stuffed animals for a donation. All funds from that event, too, will go to Boston Children’s.