NEW BOSTON — Local high school art students and their teachers from 11 Scioto and Jackson County schools created 24 portraits for children in Afghanistan as part of The Memory Project.
The Memory Project is coordinated locally by Sharee Price, Gifted Services Coordinator at the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center in New Boston.
Twenty-four portraits were created this year by students and teachers from Green, Minford, New Boston, Northwest, Notre Dame, Oak Hill, Portsmouth, South Webster, Valley, West, and Wheelersburg schools.
Participants included Djean Cardosa, Mika Jones, Ms. Kate Claxon, Tylan Osborne, Riley Galloway, Trista Montgomery, Rachel Throckmorton, Kimberly Stanley, Millie West, Faith Harting, Ms. Kelly Montgomery, Erica Cade, Hannah Duncan, Addison Copley, Mr. Charlie Haskins, Hannah Thurman, Kyndal Kearns, Kenna Wrage, Isabella Fitch, Aubrey Gulley, Hailey Spriggs, Serenity Stewart, and Skyi Rawlins.
“The Memory Project is dedicated to promoting intercultural awareness, friendship, and kindness between children around the world through the universal language of art,” Price said. “Since 2004 over 280,000 youth have been involved in the programs provided through The Memory Project. This project is an important one, it allows our students to use their artistic talents to make a difference in others’ lives. I believe our students feel a true connection to the children for whom they are creating portraits and a sense of accomplishment when they complete them.”
The Memory Project is a national project that was founded by Ben Schumaker in 2004. It is a unique initiative in which art students create original portraits for children who have been abandoned, orphaned, abused or neglected and who don’t normally have keepsakes of their childhood. The project strives to give them something precious they can keep and to give them a sense of self-worth, knowing that someone cared enough to take the time to create a portrait of them.
Local high school art students receive photographs of children who are waiting for portraits, then work in their art classrooms to create the portraits. The portraits are delivered to the children and a video is made of the event.
In the past 14 years, local students have created 354 portraits for children in 13 different countries including Guatemala, Burma, Uganda, Indonesia, Ecuador, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Madagascar, Syria, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
As with most things, 2020 created new challenges. Many students made their portraits independently at home while attending remote classes.
Despite the situation, students still found ways to create amazing works of art that will shine a light for so many other children.
“Students completing this project just in time for the Christmas holiday truly embodies the spirit of giving to others during this special time of the year,” Price said. “I always look forward to seeing what the students and their teachers have created and am continually impressed by their efforts and the high quality of their work. It’s wonderful to see them using their artistic talents to give back to the world in such a positive way.”
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