The Memory Project – A Global Connection Through Visual Art

This week, Mrs. Payne’s painting class is wrapping up their class projects that they have created in partnership with The Memory Project. The Memory Project is a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers, art students, and solo artists to help cultivate global kindness by creating portraits for children around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as violence, war, extreme poverty, neglect, and loss of parents.

In its second year in Mrs. Payne’s class, students have had the opportunity to create something with a global impact, but, more importantly, a positive impact on an individual child’s life. As stated by the Memory Project, “Participants create these portraits to help children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well being, and to provide a special childhood memory in the future”.

To create the portraits, artists receive a short message from the child listing small details like their name and favorite color. Upon completion of the project, students write a short reply to the child in their native language, deepening a global connection that, otherwise, they may never have had the chance to experience.

This year, students are working on portraits for children in Columbia and will be sending out their finished works of art this week. Participants were asked to reflect on information about the children and culture in Columbia. This gives the students not only a chance to learn about what the child’s life may be like, but to also find inspiration in the arts and colors that they can positivity include in the child’s portrait.

“It has been great to see my students’ reactions to this project each year,” said Mrs. Payne. “I see them talk about it with each other and bring in other students to see and hear about the project. They are highly motivated to make a meaningful and true representation of the child they have been chosen to paint. It is a great project to show my students a unique way art can have a social impact.”

Since 2004, the Memory Project has created more than 130,000 portraits for children in 47 countries.

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