Local Students Create Portraits For Children in Cambodia

December 17, 2013

Local high school art students have been busy preparing for The Memory Project exhibit which will open in the Southern Ohio Museum’s Richards Gallery on December 5 and will run through December 28, 2013. This project displays original portraits created by talented high school art students for children in developing countries who have been abandoned, abused or neglected. The art students receive photographs of the children from which to create the portraits. Once finished, the portraits are delivered to the children and photographs are taken of the children receiving their portraits. The photographs are then sent back to the artists. This year 20 portraits were created for the children of Cambodia. The following school districts participated: East, New Boston, Northwest, Notre Dame, Oak Hill, Portsmouth, South Webster, Valley, West and Wheelersburg.

Ben Shumaker of Madison, Wisconsin, initiated The Memory Project in the fall of 2004. Inspired by his experiences in the orphanages of Guatemala, Ben’s goal is to provide orphaned children with “tangible items that will contribute to their sense of identity and personal self-worth.”

Over the past 7 years, local students and their teachers have produced 145 portraits that have been sent to 7 different countries, including: Guatemala, Burma, Uganda, Indonesia, Ecuador, Vietnam and now Cambodia. This project is supported by the Scioto Foundation and the Portsmouth Rotary Club. The South Central Ohio Educational Service Center’s Gifted Services Coordinator, Sharee Price, is the coordinator for the project. Sharee collaborates with Scioto County high school art teachers, who in turn offer guidance and support to their students.

There will be an opening reception for the artists on Thursday, December 5 at 4:00 PM at the Museum. The reception is free and open to the public. The museum is located at 825 Gallia Street in Portsmouth. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 AM – 5 PM and Saturday 1 – 5 PM. The Museum is closed on Sunday, Monday and state holidays.