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Friday, November 20, 2015

MISD Students Create Stroke of Kindness for Children in Need

Portraits that are ready to be shipped to children overseas.
The students in Summit High School’s Pre-AP and AP art classes have a knack for bringing objects to life on a piece of paper; but they never expected that their talents would be able to change the lives of children in impoverished countries.

Through The Memory Project, the students created portraits for youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, and extreme poverty. The finished portraits are then sent back to the nonprofit organization and personally delivered to the child.

Art teacher Jennifer Messer learned about the project and presented the idea to her students. She said it can be difficult for an artist to give away his or her work, but her students didn’t think twice about it.

“They were super excited about the project,” said Messer. “I wanted them to have a sense of how much their talent would mean to somebody else and the kindness that the child would see from getting such a personal art piece.”

Junior Drew Johnson putting the finishing touches on his artwork.
Many people wouldn’t consider having a picture of themselves as being a luxury; but for thousands of underprivileged children around the world, it is the one thing they can finally call their own.

“A lot of times, these kids have to share their belongings, so this is something just for him to keep,” said junior Drew Johnson about the boy from Madagascar who will receive his portrait. “I hope he’s really happy with it.”

Senior Katelynn Sigrist used her portrait to share a message of thinking past current circumstances and setting bigger goals.

“The background of his portrait is outer space because I wanted him to feel like he can go anywhere and do anything,” said Sigrist. “I wanted to put him somewhere he wouldn’t have thought to go.”

Katelynn Sigrist paints a picture she hopes will give
inspiration to the young boy who receives it.
Messer said she’s proud of her students and is not surprised about the level of talent she saw with the finished artwork.

“They all did a fantastic job,” Messer added. “Each of them got to use their own artistic voice, and they brought true passion to each portrait.”

With the help of talented artists like the students in Summit High's advanced art classes, The Memory Project has been able to create more than 80,000 portraits for children in 35 countries.