Art students ‘create portraits for a kinder world’

The Advanced Art students at Lake Norman High School are using their talents to “create portraits for a kinder world,” which is the mission of the organization they were working through, The Memory Project.

Tiffany Fox, the Advanced Art teacher at the local high school, said she received a post card from The Memory Project asking for the help of the school’s art students. The organization sent photos to the art classes of refugee children from Myanmar who resident at a camp in Bangledesh. The photos were used by the class to create portraits from and send back to the children. The portraits would be given to the children as gifts as the organization noted “to show them they are not ‘unwanted.’”

After the art students received the photos of the children, they “really took the assignment very seriously,” said Fox. (They were) “dedicated to crafting portraits of the kids. (This) was very telling of their kindness. Teens are the most wonderful people you will ever meet.”

The work of creating the portraits took the students two weeks, and through the process, the students shared how doing this for the children affected them.

“I was nervous, worried it would not be accurate,” said Haillie Duerr. “I hope the children enjoy the drawings.”

Taryn Swaggard shared that she was “honored to get to draw and show gratitude. It touched me by seeing how much I have and made me more grateful. (It taught) me to stay strong, never giving up and to not look at the negatives.”

It was “really moving,” noted Alexis Rodrigues.

While the students had limited contact and could only know the children’s names, ages and their favorite colors, they and their teacher shared that while painting, they came to see so many similarities, favoring the children they were drawing.

“The kids we got were like ourselves,” said Allie Wilson.

This project was a “blessing to them and me,” shared Fox.

A class of juniors and seniors, the students in the Advanced Art class see their artwork not just as a subject but as a future career as several will be attending various schools of design both in North Carolina and Rhode Island, and others are looking toward a career in animation and a creative director in print.