The Ranch Is Part Of "The Memory Project"
Our children are subjects in one-of-a-kind portraits painted by art students around the world.
August 15, 2012 - Honduras
A group of our children struggle to contain their excitement as they crowd around a woman holding a thick stack of paintings. The woman browses through the paintings, grabs one, and hands it to a young girl. The girl smiles as she studies the painting intensely. It is a portrait of her, painted by a child from the United States. The girl thanks the woman just before she runs off to show it to her friends. This special interaction between two children who have never met was made possible only through "The Memory Project."
The Memory Project is a unique initiative in which art students from the different countries around the world (which include USA, Canada, UK, Australia, and Korea) create portraits of abandoned, orphaned, or otherwise disadvantaged children. These portraits are then delivered to the children as keepsakes for them from the artists. This project was started by Ben Schumaker in 2004 and since then Schumaker has organized the creation and delivery of over 40,000 portraits for youth in 34 countries. Our children at NPH have been lucky enough to be included in these numbers.
Portrait deliverer, Josh Allsup, gives a painting to Fernando.
Here at the Ranch, the process of these portraits began in November of last year when Schumaker contacted us requesting photos of every single one of our children. Once Schumaker had these photos, he organized them and shipped them to high school art classes all around the United States. The students of these classes worked hard to paint, draw, or digitally edit each photo into a personalized, unique work of art. Once completed, the portraits were sent back to Schumaker and prepared for delivery to the children.
Just last week, a small group of visitors came to the Ranch to complete the final stage of The Memory Project, the delivery. For three straight days, visitors Cheridyn Egan, Teresa Runchey, and Josh Allsup passed out the individualized portraits to each one of our 500+ children.
Depending on the child, their reaction or acknowledgment of the artwork varied. Some children where incredibly verbal with their response saying how cool the paintings were and wanting to immediately share it with their friends. Others quietly praised their new gift, studying the artwork closely, and later carefully putting it away in their locker. A photo was taken of each child with their new painting, which will be sent back to the artist so they can know how the child reacted when they received their gift.
"The delivery of the portraits to the Ranch was incredibly successful," says visitor and portrait deliverer Cheridyn Egan. "It's been so fun to see the excited reactions the moment each child receives their portrait. You can tell they really appreciate them."
On the flip side of each painting is a photo of the artist and a special message from them to the child whom they painted. "It was so fun getting to paint your picture. I really hope you like this portrait that I made for you! Take care!"
Our children are incredibly grateful to be subjects in such a wonderful project and are excited to continue to be a part of it for years to come.
Communications Officer - NPH Honduras