Art classes gift portraits


Tabitha Parent

Junior Nina Sanchez uses pencil to sketch her portrait of a young boy in Pakistan. IB Visual Art students will send their finished works to the children in Nov.

Tabitha Parent, Senior Reporter

WEB EXCLUSIVE Juniors in IB Visual Arts are continuing work on their artwork in collaboration with the Memory Project, a non-profit which aims to connect high school students with children in challenging situations across the globe through art. 

“It’s a great opportunity to build skills around something that matters, as opposed to just having them do a portrait of themselves, they’re connecting to somebody else,” Visual Arts teacher Rachel McIntire said. “They’re learning what’s going on with the students that they are paired with.”

Students in IB Visual Arts are making portraits for children from Pakistan and Nigeria. Seventh graders at Convent Elementary has also been paired with a group of children from Syria. 

“I want to put in as much effort as I can because this boy is probably not in the best situation in his hometown,” junior Sofia Jorgenson said. “Hopefully, I can make him happy by giving him a beautiful piece of art.” 

Students were matched with their children in Sep. and are currently creating a 9-by-12 portrait of the child that they were assigned. A reference photo of the child was provided for the student, along with the child’s name and favorite color.

“The art project has taught me a lot about different methods of creating art, like using graphite to copy images onto paper and I’ve learned a lot about painting and acrylics,” junior Audrey Scott said. “I’ve learned many blending techniques that I think will be extremely useful for future art projects.” 

Throughout the course of the project, students will gain skills in developing skin tones and features as well as the use of shading and the benefit of mixed media artwork. 

When students have finished their artwork, the finished portraits will be shipped to their respective children. Representatives from the Memory Project will then film a video of the children receiving their portrait as thanks to the high school students. 

“Students develop a lot of skills and the fact that they care so much about it quickly builds their skills,” McIntire said. “It’s a really great project that connects with IB, so it builds empathy as students are learning about the cultural context of the students that we’re collaborating with.”