Eunice Kennedy Shriver painting by David Lenz

Eunice Kennedy Shriver

by David Lenz
Oil and acrylic on canvas, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the creative force and organizer of Special Olympics, Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization that provides training and competition in Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. In 1962, she established a summer day camp at her home that became the basis for Special Olympics. In 1968, the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, working with the Chicago Park District, organized the First International Special Olympics Summer Games. Currently, the Special Olympics serves more than 5.4 million athletes from 193 countries.

David Lenz was commissioned to paint this portrait as part of the first prize in the museum’s inaugural Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Lenz embraced the idea of making a portrait of Eunice Shriver that would also include five persons with intellectual disabilities who have been involved in Special Olympics and in the Best Buddies program: (left to right) Airika Straka, Katie Meade, Andy Leonard, Loretta Claiborne, and Martin “Marty” Sheets.

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; commissioned as part of the First Prize, Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2006 © National Portrait Gallery