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Young Philanthropist Hopes to Help Red Cross with Unique Artwork

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“I want to raise awareness and money to help people get a home, food or see a doctor."

For the next month, a local coffee shop in Des Moines, Iowa will be the home of eight unique pieces of art that may raise awareness for tornado safety in the community.

Jack McFetridge, a soon-to-be sixth-grade student at Cowles Montessori School, researched natural disasters for his school’s Interest Fair. His tornado research completely amazed him, he said, so he used oil pastels to create his first piece of artwork featuring a tornado.

Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure allows artists in the community to display their artwork on the business’ ever-changing walls. McFetridge’s paintings are a part of a silent auction, so at the end, each painting will go to its highest bidder.

The family knew how difficult it can be to get exhibits into the renowned coffee shop, so right away, they contacted the owner about getting on the exhibit list. Once June rolled around, McFetridge’s paintings were complete, and he was able to display them to the community.

Along with the large paintings, the family thought it would be an excellent idea to downsize the pictures and plaster them on individual greeting cards for visitors to take and leave a donation.

The family said that whatever money is gained from the greeting cards will be given to the American Red Cross.

“I want to raise awareness and money to help people get a home, food or see a doctor,” McFetridge said.

McFetridge’s favorite painting also happened to be the largest on display. He particularly liked this art because it accentuated the utter darkness of tornados. The painting’s name: “Random Devil.”

“They show what tornados are really like,” he said regarding his paintings.

Along with raising tornado safety awareness in the community, which is an immediate goal of the Red Cross, McFetridge says he’s learned a lot after immersing himself in the subject.

“I also want to be able to be more safe after disasters, but I just think natural disasters, including tornados, are a big factor of how people can lose their lives,” McFetridge said. “If you can be prepared, it may not be so bad.”