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Statesboro High artists create portraits for Russian foster children
Posted 7/9/18

Statesboro High art students create portraits for Russian foster childrenStudents in Hayley Bond's painting class at Statesboro High School last semester created one-of-a-kind portraits for six Russian foster children who live in foster homes. The project was made possible through the international non-profit, The Memory Project. The Memory Project engages art teachers and their students to use their talents 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.

 

     "I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that your school’s art department has provided them with personal gifts to last a lifetime, and your school’s students helped to show that even with great tension between our countries our youth can still share joy and see themselves in one another," said Ryan Egan, communications director for The Memory Project.

 

     The Memory Project provided Statesboro High with a wonderful eight-minute documentary video of the SHS students creating the portraits, how they were united with more than a thousand other portraits from around the world for other children, and then how the SHS students' portraits were received by the Russian children. View the video and the SHS students' work at http://bit.ly/2ukvdTN 

   

    In a personal email to Ms. Bond, Statesboro High’s art teacher, Egan shared that a Russian newspaper covered the portrait presentations and titled it, "From America with Love."  The article began, "At the height of the political crisis, these portraits of kindness flew to Russia with the most kind wishes from across the ocean."  According to The Memory Project, the Russian journalist called this a "remarkable example of people's diplomacy."

 

     Egan ended the email by saying, “You've (Bond and her students) exemplified the art of diplomacy in your thoughtful and caring actions.” 

 

     According to The Memory Project's website, students have created more than 100,000 portraits for children in 43 countries since it was founded in 2004 by Ben Schumaker, who at the time was studying psychology and social work at the University of Wisconsin. Schumaker’s artistic ministry came out of his experiences working with disadvantaged children in Guatemala, who according to him, “had few special belongings to help capture their life stories.”

 

      "We are very grateful to your school (Statesboro High) for helping us build peace and international friendship through the arts," said Egan. The organization is headquartered in Middleton, WI. For more information about their outreach, visit memoryproject.org.