Every year, St. John’s participates in the Memory Project.
“The organization works with kids that are disadvantaged or in difficult circumstances and they partner with schools and the students in the school make a portrait of the student as a gift to the child to show that they care,”said Ms. Mills, the art director here at SJC.
Students receive a number of pictures of different children, and choose to create a portrait of one of them that will be taken back to the child. When making the portraits, it’s encouraged to base the background and art style of the portrait off of a couple of facts that are written down about each child, such as their age and favorite color.
St. John’s originally became involved with the project through communication with the organization. Karen Perrera, a former student, became interested and wanted to do the project for her senior year scholars project, and organized it herself. This would begin the tradition of our school’s involvement with the Memory project each year.
“We try to include as many people as possible for the project, because you can send more than one picture per student. Sometimes the kids will send a packet of pictures if it’s a class project, and sometimes it’s only one portrait. It depends on if it’s a whole class doing it or an individual project,” said Ms. Mills.
While the project is voluntary for students, some classes participate in the Memory Project as a graded assignment. Foundations in Art classes and some Drawing and Painting classes usually submit portraits each year for the organization.
“I got involved with the Memory Project my freshman year. My foundations in art teacher, Ms. Montana, had us participate in it for a class assignment. The next year, I saw a sign-up for it, so I participated again on my own,” says Emma Farrell ‘19.
“I think it’s a great idea. The founder tells the story on the website of how he met someone who had grown up in an orphanage and had no mementos of their childhood. I think it’s a really nice project that can show kids that there are people looking out for them and that care,” says Ms. Mills.
Recently, the group has been organized by 3 students, Emma Farrell, Bella Davila, and Sara Miller. “I love art and I love being able to use my passion to make an impact on someone in need. The portraits that the kids receive provide them with a gift of self- worth, and being able to give that is amazing. We get a video of the group of kids receiving their portraits and you can see in the video how much it means to them, which is very meaningful for me,” said Farrell.