WRENTHAM — Principal Lisa Mobley and Fine Arts Teacher Shannon Cress are pleased to announce that, for the eighth year in a row, King Philip Regional High School students participated in the Memory Project, creating portraits for disadvantaged children around the world.
The Memory Project is a charitable non-profit organization based in Wisconsin. The group invites art teachers, art students and solo artists to create portraits for children around the world who have gone through traumatic experiences and personal loss. Once completed, the portraits of the children are sent to them, along with a special note from the artist, letting them know that people care about their well-being and providing a unique and special childhood memory. Since 2004, the Memory Project has helped create over 160,000 portraits for children in 55 countries.
“This is such a wonderful project to be a part of and one my students participate in every year,” said Cress. “It gives our students great pride to make a child smile and feel special. It also creates a connection to different parts of the world for both our artists and their subjects, which is very powerful.”
Each year, the staff at The Memory Project choose the countries whose children would benefit most from being a part of the project. This year, the KP students were told they would be creating portraits for vulnerable youth in Malaysia. The Memory Project then mailed photographs of a group of children for visual reference to Cress and the students created a portrait of a child in the medium of their choice within one month.
This year, 22 National Art Honor Society students (sophomores, juniors and seniors) participated from King Philip Regional High School. The students worked on their projects in art class and at home using drawing pencils, colored pencil, watercolor, ink, and/or acrylic paint to make their portraits.
The completed portraits were sent back with a photo of the student-artist holding up their work, along with a personal note written in the child’s language, as well as a monetary donation to cover the cost of shipping the artwork to the children.
“In times such as now where distance and separation is affecting all of us, it’s nice for our KP students to be a part of a project that brings them together with children from all over the world,” said Principal Mobley. “We are extremely excited that our students’ artwork was able to be delivered before the borders closed. Hopefully these projects bring a smile to children during these difficult times.”
This year’s project culminated with a video recently produced by the Memory Project featuring the artwork done by the KPHS students and the children of Malaysia receiving the finished portraits and their reactions to seeing their faces as works of art.
“Every year we are honored to see the effect our portraits have on the community where they are sent,” said Cress. “The video at the end of the project is always the most moving part. This year was all the more so moving considering the state of the world right now. In this time of isolation, I think we can all really appreciate the power of human connection, in our communities and across the globe.”