The memory project

Art Club members draw portraits of orphans from Afghanistan


Kaitlyn Gordon

Art Club members draw portraits of children from an orphanage in Afghanistan to send back to them for the Memory Project. Portraits will be sent in May.

Story by Victoria Van, entertainment editor

Art Club has begun making artwork for The Memory Project, which is a charitable nonprofit plan that invites art students and teachers to create portraits of children from Third World countries and send them back as forever treasured gifts. 

Art Club pursued the project in order to gain a more well-rounded perspective on a place where war and poverty run rampant and which requires a remedy that art has the power to unleash.

“I heard about the Memory Project in college and thought Art Club would take on the project successfully, as there a lot of advanced artists that can draw portraits well,” sponsor Shea Phillips said. “We decided to do orphans from Afghanistan, and everyone’s really excited to start on them because it’ll be a really good bonding experience.”

The importance and magnitude that each artist realizes in turn determines how dedicated and ready they are to accomplish this act of kindness. 

“It’s a selfless service act, and you’re not getting any monetary compensation, so that’s when you truly know the worth of the cause,” Phillips said. 

Since 2004, the organization has sent more than 100,000 portraits to children in 43 countries. In addition to creating the portraits, club members are asked to contribute $15 per portrait to cover the cost of coordination and delivery. 

It’s important to do this because when they look back at their portraits, they’ll know that somebody out there is thinking about them.

— Anolyn Keenum

Knowing that these children are unfamiliar with having even a photo taken of them displays how much they will cherish the portraits once they’re finished. It evokes happiness and a newfound appreciation within the artists creating the pieces. 

“It may seem silly, a single photo that gives kids joy, but to them, they may have never had just a photo of themselves before,” junior Kayla Walthall said. “These days, I look back on my childhood pictures my parents had taken and it brings me happy memories. I want to do that with the kids.”

Within the realms of every artist’s creativity, the true essence of every child’s photo is captured by making sure the portrait looks authentic and that their happiness shines through. 

“When I am working on his portrait, I will make sure to make his smile stand out, because that’s what made me gravitate toward his picture,” sophomore Anolyn Keenum said. “It’s important to do this because when they look back at their portraits, they’ll know that somebody out there is thinking about them.” 

The memory portraits will be sent off to Afghanistan toward the end of May for the children.  For more information, visit