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Arts Magnet Students Create Portraits for Memory Project

JSerra Arts Magnet Program students recently had the privilege of creating portraits of children from Cameroon based on photos taken by the Memory Project. The Memory Project is a nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create portraits for youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, and extreme poverty.

The portraits will be presented to each child (most often, an orphan living in an impoverished nation, suffering the effects of natural disasters, or living in poverty) as a gift, reminding them of their beauty, culture, and value. The intent of the portraits is to help the children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well-being, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future. For art students who participate, the project is intended to be an opportunity to creatively practice kindness and global awareness.

Senior Emily Hazelip was primarily excited about the creativity she was able to express in her piece. "You can do it in any medium, so this year I chose collage work with mine. But I also got to draw too, which was a nice opportunity. The kids don't have any pictures of themselves, so we get to draw a
picture of them so they have one."

Visual Arts Magnet Director Monica McQueen first heard about the Memory Project from Loyola High School. She was inspired by their work and wanted to give back to children who are less fortunate as well as teach students the importance of caring for others.

Hazelip learned a touching lesson from her four years of participating in the project.

"We should appreciate what we have," she said. "Compared to these kids, we're like princes and princesses. Just be grateful for what you have and if you have something to give, you should give it to others."

Emily Hazelip ('21)

Kristina Calvo ('21)

Teila Cerillo ('21)