Art Making a Difference at Saint Francis High School

Art Making a Difference at Saint Francis High School

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Bryan Holt

Saint Francis High School students in a Drawing 1 class have forged a bond with children 6,000 miles away, using art to remind them that as individuals, they are valued and important.

The students partnered with the Memory Project, an organization that asks art students to produce and donate keepsake portraits of youth from around the world who face substantial challenges – poverty, war, loss of parents – and who have few, if any, printed photos of themselves. The organization provides art teachers with photos of children from orphanages, care centers and schools, and students then create portraits to be sent back to each child.
Art teacher Sylvan Adams and her classes have participated in this project several times over the years; this year, they were paired with children from Ukraine.

“This kind of exchange between kids is a heartfelt interaction,” said Ms. Adams. “The portraits become meaningful pieces of personal history, inspiring hope and strength for new beginnings. For the art students, it is an opportunity to creatively practice kindness and expand their global awareness.”

In appreciation of the contribution from the students, the Memory Project shared a video of the children receiving their gifts from Saint Francis. The children are all smiles when the portraits were handed out, their expressions a mix of anticipation, excitement and shyness.