Drawing inspiration from photos, 224 students from Holyoke High School North this winter created individual portraits to send to children living in an orphanage in India as part of a classroom-based Memory Project initiative led by HHS North fine arts teacher Guiseppe Duran.
Their work is part of a larger project created by Ben Schumaker, founder and director of The Memory Project, a youth arts organization that promotes intercultural understanding and kindness between children around the world. Since 2004, the program has touched the lives of 300,00 youth living in 55 countries.
The premise of the project is quite simple: Collect photos of the intended recipients and send them to students around the world. Student artists then create handmade, heartfelt portraits and send them back as a gesture of kindness and connection.
The premise may be simple, but the impact is profound.
“Together we are using art to reach a distant destination: a kinder world in which all youth see themselves in one another regardless of differences in their appearance, culture, religion, or circumstances,” Mr. Schumacher said.
In addition to inspiring and connecting students from around the globe, the project also serves as a fundraiser to support orphanages. HHS North has participated in the project for a number of years, including spring 2022 when 187 students created artwork for children in Nigeria. In 2024, students will create art from photos for children living in Ukraine.