The Memory Project is a charitable nonprofit organization that invites art teachers and their students to create portraits for youth around the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, violence, and extreme poverty.
We want the portraits to help the children feel valued and important, to know that many people care about their well being, and to act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future. For the art students, we want this to be an opportunity to creatively practice kindness and global awareness.
To do this, we receive photos of children and teens from global charities operating residential homes, schools, and care centers in a number of different countries every year.
We then provide our participating art teachers with full-page color prints as well as digital copies of those photos, along with plastic sleeves to protect the finished portraits. The art teachers then work with their students to create the portraits, and we hand-deliver them to the kids. We always try to have several different portraits for each child, created by different art students and based on different poses.
Finally, we make a video of each delivery to share with all of the art students and teachers involved. Since 2004 we have created more than 90,000 portraits for children in 42 countries. For more information, please see our FAQs or ask us. We would love to hear from you!
To help children feel valued and important.
If you are interested in participating, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will then ask you about your preferred time frame and how many portraits your group would like to create. Next, we will match you with the children’s photos and send you full-page prints as well as digital copies.
- Participation is open year-round and participants usually have several months or longer to create the portraits.
- Info about the costs of the project is below.
- Some art teachers sign up with just a couple students to create portraits while others sign up with dozens.
- Most participants are high school art students, but we also have university students, middle and elementary students, and adult artists involved.
- Here is our 1-page set of instructions for creating the portraits, listing size, media, and other considerations.
- Most participants create drawings or paintings, but any medium is welcome. Students of the computer arts can even print their digital work, and novice art students can create collage portraits using cut-outs from photos.
- For more information, please see our FAQs or ask us. We would love to hear from you!
To provide meaningful pieces of personal history.
- Staff salaries
- Printing and shipping
- Delivering portraits
- Donations to the children
- Supplies, technology, etc
The Memory Project is a nonprofit organization, and we ask our participants to contribute $15 per portrait to cover the costs of coordination and delivery to the children around the world.
For example, a group of 10 art students would contribute $150 total, and that $150 could come from the students themselves, a classroom budget, a booster fund, a school club, a sponsor, etc.
These funds can be submitted at any point in the process (even at the end when you send us the finished portraits). If you would like ideas for how to get funding, please see these suggestions.
Also, if none of those ideas will work for your group, then please ask us for help. We are always more than willing to sort out funding challenges.
90,000 portraits and counting.
Most art students who sign up to create portraits also make a contribution of $15 to cover costs. However, art students in low-income situations sometimes need a little help with this, and we are always grateful to receive donations to sponsor them. The Memory Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and all gifts are tax-deductible (EIN 20-1802885).
To donate by check:
The Memory Project
2163 N. Gateway St.
Middleton, WI 53562-3403