Over the past year, Asheville School Art Instructor Casey Arbor has partnered with The Memory Project, a nonprofit that invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to children around the world who have faced substantial challenges such as loss, violence and extreme poverty.
After learning about the humanitarian crisis in Syria, every student in Arbor's studio art classes used photos sent by The Memory Project to paint portraits of individual children who currently live in refugee camps.
The Memory Project will deliver the portraits to the children with the aim of giving each child a memento that might help them feel valued and loved.
Arbor says this has become an important project in her classroom. She loves that the work art students pour into each piece creates a connection between the students and the children whom they are painting. "This is by far my students' favorite project of the semester," she said. "The investment each student has in his or her portrait extends far beyond the classroom. Students are excited to bring a little light to lives of the children they are painting."
In a class reflection, Asheville School sophomore Crow Thorsen wrote that he loved having the chance to create a portrait for The Memory Project. "I think this is one of the coolest opportunities I have been given at Asheville School," he wrote. "It has given me a connection and a face that I will never forget."
You can see the portraits from this year's art classes here and read more about The Memory Project a www.memoryproject.org.