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Art Department’s Memory Project Hopes to Bring Light to Puerto Rico

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Art Department’s Memory Project Hopes to Bring Light to Puerto Rico

Memorable Masterpieces: The North Atlanta Memory Project for Puerto Rico has been contributed into a powerful collection of portraits made by the NAHS art classes.

Memorable Masterpieces: The North Atlanta Memory Project for Puerto Rico has been contributed into a powerful collection of portraits made by the NAHS art classes.

Lilly Nail

Memorable Masterpieces: The North Atlanta Memory Project for Puerto Rico has been contributed into a powerful collection of portraits made by the NAHS art classes.

Lilly Nail

Lilly Nail

Memorable Masterpieces: The North Atlanta Memory Project for Puerto Rico has been contributed into a powerful collection of portraits made by the NAHS art classes.

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With a debut at the end-of-year art exhibition last May, the art department at North Atlanta High School began the Memory Project, a collaborative non-profit organization involving dozens of schools around the country. By enlisting members of National Art Honor Society and talented young artists in regular art classes, children from countries ravaged by conflict and natural disaster get their portrait specialized and sent back to create new memories.

When Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria last year, North Atlanta art teacher Kimberly Landers became concerned about her family that lived there. She wanted to do something to help and quickly reached out to the Memory Projects. While Puerto Rico was not the subject of that year’s project, Landers still secured a portfolio of smiling children from Afghanistan. The project ended up as a success, with many of the students producing beautiful work that was featured in the hallways of North Atlanta.

For this year’s round of Memory Project, Landers got her wish and Puerto Rico will be the project’s focus. “I was disappointed last year because of my personal ties, but I was so excited when I found out we had the opportunity to do the Memory Project again,” she said.

The Memory Project itself targets places devastated by natural disaster and war. Photographers take pictures of children to send back to the United States. Then, art students all over the country paint, shade, sketch, and even digitally draw their bright faces.

Each photo comes with the name of the child and their favorite color, which helps the artist develop the color scheme of the piece. When complete, the student puts their picture and a brief description on the back and sends it back to the subject. The art student also adds their own favorite color to the back. The North Atlanta art students soon all became passionately involved in the project. “I liked that the boy I chose had the same favorite color as me,” said junior Penelope Wilkes, “It made it more personal.”

Both the students and the art teachers seem to be delighted by the idea of helping children in need. Landers was able to do what she had wanted and create art for the children from Puerto Rico, while making sure the backgrounds are even more wild and colorful than they were last year. She hopes to continue the tradition into the future so that children all over the world can make connections and art through the Memory Project.

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Art Department’s Memory Project Hopes to Bring Light to Puerto Rico