A little girl is trying to bring artistic joy to others, all the while remembering where she came from.
Hidden potential and unlocked talent are things we all possess. But some of us don't tap into that potential until later in life, while others take advantage of it before the first grade.
While some artists attack the canvas, Marissa Hitt is serene and peaceful with her paint brush.
"I'm just pretty much letting the brush do its work," she said.
At 8 years old, she's already a seasoned veteran.
She's been painting since she was 2 and she excels at it with carefree abandon.
"I just do whatever pretty much," Marissa said.
Her art studio is in the basement of her parent's Shawnee, KS, home. It's here where she creates her gallery, so-to-speak, is in an upstairs closet.
"I have no idea (how many there are). A lot. And this one is dragon flies playing hide-n-seek," she said.
Maybe you've seen Marissa's work at local art shows. She has her own website where she sells her originals and prints. But Marissa said it's not about making money, it's more about donating some of the proceeds to charity.
Marissa's mom and dad, Terri and Dennis Hitt, adopted her from an orphanage in Leizhou City, China when she was a baby. The 8-year-old is well aware that children who remain in that orphanage live in meager surroundings.
"She wanted to send items to her orphanage in China," Dennis Hitt said.
"And I thought they need a little something of what I have and they can have fun and just create," Marissa said.
But Chinese officials suggested she send diapers or formula instead.
"She was 5 at the time and she said 'No!' She said, 'I want to know how many children are there that are 5 and older,' then she put together a list of things she wanted sent like books and art supplies - things in her words that she wanted those kids to have, things that they couldn't have that she was fortunate enough to have," Dennis Hitt said.
Painting is just one of Marissa's interests. She said dancing is her passion and she studies ballet and traditional Chinese dance. She was even named "Miss Shawnee" at the National American Miss Pageant.
"It's just been amazing to watch her and to know that I didn't know that piece of my heart was missing and now she's here and she fills it completely and it's not because she paints or dances - it's because it's her," Terri Hitt said.
Marissa said when she grows up she wants to be an international dancer.
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