This charitable nonprofit invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges—from neglect, abuse, and loss of family to violence, war, and extreme poverty.
Since 2013, Immaculate Heart Academy artists have completed portraits for students in Cambodia, Haiti, Thailand, Paraguay, Madagascar, and Peru. Since its inception in 2004, the Memory Project has created more than 100,000 portraits for children in 43 countries.
“The intention of these portraits is to help the children feel valued and important and to give our art students an opportunity to practice kindness, selflessness, and global awareness through art,” explained Mrs. Lisa Encke, IHA director of the arts. “Our first semester Advanced Painting and Drawing students created paintings for children in the Ukraine. Second semester students created portraits for those in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Every year, the Memory Project receives photos of children and teens from global charities operating residential homes, schools, and care centers in countries around the world. Team members provide participating art teachers with full-page color prints and digital copies of the photos; teachers then work with their students to create the portraits. Representatives from the Memory Project have the wonderful experience of hand-delivering them to the kids. The intent is to have several portraits for each child created by various art students and based on different poses. A video of each delivery is also made and eventually shared with all of the art students and teachers involved. Click here to view the delivery to the kids in the Ukraine, and here for the delivery to the children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a letter from the Memory Project, Mrs. Encke was informed that the children in the Ukraine were extremely “excited to receive the artwork” and “very touched” by our efforts to create such special gifts for them. The children and teens in the Democratic Republic of Congo were exceptionally happy to receive the “unique and special gifts,” and were “so surprised to see themselves portrayed as works of art!”
Additionally, because of IHA’s financial contributions, team members of the Memory Project were able to donate a total of $9,000 to support art, therapy, and youth development programs for the children in both countries. Our student artists are currently working on portraits of Syrian refugees; they look forward to participating in the Memory Project for years to come.