MND art students had the privilege of participating in a project that not only demonstrated their artistic skills but also their compassion. The Memory Project is a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as violence, disasters, extreme poverty, neglect and loss of parents. Photos of children and teens are received from global charities operating residential homes, schools, and care centers in several different countries every year.
Students in Mrs. Beth Wurzelbacher's Art Foundations classes were presented with photos of teenagers from Russia and were tasked with drawing portraits that mirrored the photos as closely as possible. Once completed, the portraits were shipped to Russia and presented to the recipients. MND students included a photo of themselves to further solidify the shared bond of this unique experience.
According to the Memory Project, the portraits are intended to help the recipients feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their wellbeing, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future. For MND students, it was an opportunity to creatively practice compassion, kindness and global awareness.
MND Art Department Chairperson, Mrs. Shelly Brauer notes, "This was such a worthwhile project and a way to incorporate our teaching into an effort that is bigger than our school and our country". Since 2004, the Memory Project has organized more than 100,000 portraits for children in 43 countries.