To all family and friends of Forest Park: If you would be interested in helping support Forest Park’s students participate in this project, any monetary donation would be greatly appreciated. To sponsor one student to receive a portrait is a cost of $15, but any donation is welcomed. Please contact Forest Park at 906-214-4695 or Jenn Vollenweider at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
The Memory Project is a unique initiative in which art students create portraits for children and teens around the world who have been neglected, orphaned, or disadvantaged. Given that kids in such situations tend to have few personal keepsakes, we're aiming to provide them with special memories that capture a piece of their childhood - portable pieces of their personal history. As much as possible, we also want to help the kids see themselves as works of art.
To do this, art students receive photos of kids on our waiting list and then work in any medium to create the portraits (drawing, painting, digital art, collage, etc). Next, we deliver the portraits to the kids as gifts. We also take photos of the kids holding the portraits so the art students can see the delivery in action.
The Memory Project was developed by Ben Schumaker as a graduate student of social work at the University of Wisconsin.
In 2003, while volunteering at an orphanage in Guatemala, Ben learned that the kids had few special belongings to represent moments of their childhood. They had very few photos, for example, to serve as memories from their early years. Since Ben had always enjoyed making portraits in school art classes, he had the idea to get art students involved in creating portraits for the kids.
The Memory Project was officially born in 2004 and Ben still coordinates it full-time today. To date the project has created nearly 50,000 portraits for kids in 34 countries, and we intend to keep going as long as possible.
The following portraits were made during the 2012-2013 school year; that was the first year Forest Park students participated in The Memory Project.
Cherisa, drawn by Kelsi Hendrickson
Glenroy, drawn by Leslie Luft
Kwesaun, drawn by Gina Maki
Joel, drawn by Yesenia Anaya
The Memory Project: 2017-2018
The portraits that we created this year were of Syrian children living in a refugee camp in Jordan, just over the border from their home country. We received this video of the children receiving the portraits in March.
The Memory Project: 2014-2015
The portraits that we created this year were of children living in a group home in Paraguay. The children ranged in age from babies to teenagers. Shown are a few of our students holding their finished portrait alongside the child who received the portrait holding it as well.
This is a link to a short video of the portraits being delivered to Paraguay. The password to view the video is "portraits":
The portraits we created this year were of children living in a group home in Mexico. The children ranged in age from young adolescents to teenagers. Shown are a few of our students holding their finished portrait alongside the child who received the portrait holding it as well.
This is a link to a short video of the portraits being delivered to Mexico. The password to view the video is "portraits".