About the Memory Project: The Memory Project is a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as violence, disasters, extreme poverty, neglect, and loss of parents.
We want the portraits to help the children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well being, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future. For the art students, we want this to be an opportunity to creatively practice kindness and global awareness.
Mrs. Bjork was inspired to get her students involved after seeing Ben Shumaker, the founder of The Memory Project present on the story behind the organization at the Wisconsin Art Education Association Fall Conference in Janesville, WI. There wasn't a dry eye in the room after the presentation, which showed videos of students receiving their portraits. It was moving to see the impact that art can have on people around the world. The reaction of the children, many in refugee camps, was testament to the healing power of art and the fact that art matters. Mrs. Bjork told the art club about the project and showed them the video and website. Students immediately wanted to help and create their own portraits to be shared.
PHS was partnered with children from Mexico and enlisted the help of a few non-Art Club artists to help create the 15 portraits. Students chose to work in media they felt comfortable using including acrylic paint, watercolors and digital painting/drawing. The results are fabulous and highlight each student artist's style through their interpretation of the young person. For more on the project visit The Memory Project website.