Dear Ms. Shriver and Artists,

We're so pleased to let you know that the portraits you created were delivered to the children and teens in Russia, and it was unforgettable for all involved. The children were so excited to receive your artwork and very touched by your efforts to create such special gifts. It was truly a unique experience for them.

A Russian newspaper covered this story and titled it "From America with Love." It began, "At the height of the political crisis, these portraits of kindness flew to Russia with the most kind wishes from across the ocean." They went on to call this a "remarkable example of people's diplomacy," and that is thanks to each of you. You've exemplified the art of diplomacy in your thoughtful and caring actions. You've helped to show that with great tension between our countries our youth can still share joy and see themselves in one another.

The following video begins with an introduction personalized for you, and then shows many children receiving their portraits together at all the different locations that were involved.

Your students may be interested to know that they were joined in this effort by more than a thousand young artists. Therefore, rather than focusing on any portraits individually, the purpose of this video is to share the collective joy and excitement of all the children together.

Finally, please know that because of your financial contributions we were able to utilize $3,500 to support the organization caring for the children. That is a substantial amount of support for all of us to provide together, along with these very heartfelt portraits.

We're so grateful for all of the extra time and effort you put into making this project possible. Thank you for helping us build peace and international friendship through the arts. It is our true privilege to do this work with you, and we very much hope to have that privilege again. Creating portraits for a kinder world.


Ryan, Cheridyn, Carrie, Ben The Memory Project



Art students at Cedarcrest Middle School participate in Memory Project

Art students at Cedarcrest have joined the MemoryProject, a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create and donate portraits to youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, violence, and extreme poverty. Given that youth in such situations usually have few personal keepsakes, the purpose of the portraits is to provide them with meaningful mementos of their youth. The project also allows art students to practice kindness and global awareness while enhancing their portraiture skills.

Students at Cedarcrest Middle School are participating as part of their baseline Drawing portion of their Art class. To do this, the students worked for weeks on seeing shapes of facial features, turning them into form through shading values, then received photos of children who are waiting for portraits, and then worked to create the portraits. Once finished, theMemoryProject delivers the portraits to the children. In total, 150 art students will make portraits for 30 children in the Philippines.

Laurie Shriver, the art teacher at Cedarcrest Middle School who has worked with the Memory Project in the past, finds the connections students make to the bigger world and its people, invaluable. She works a lot with multicultural units, but she said, ”theMemoryProject is one of the most memorable units for students and the children who we draw”. TheMemoryProject is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. Since the project began in 2004, more than 100,000 American art students have created portraits for children in 44 countries.

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