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Local art students create portraits for refugee children

posted May 1, 2019, 12:39 PM by Michael Richards
Over the past winter, budding artists from Wells High School began their second year of participation in the Memory Project, a nonprofit organization inviting art students from around the globe to create portraits of children uprooted from their home countries due to poverty, abuse, natural disasters, war and genocide.  

“The intent of the portraits is to help (these) children feel valued and important; to know that many people care about their wellbeing…” commented WHS Art teacher Vanessa White-Capelluti in her description of the program.  “This is an opportunity to use their art talents to practice kindness and global awareness.”

This year, White-Capelluti’s students created portraits from photos of seventeen Rohingya refugee children who have fled conflict and genocide in Myanmar.  According to White-Capelluti, these children now reside in the world's largest refugee settlement in bordering Bangladesh.   

Soon after the portraits were received in the refugee settlement, a video was sent to White-Capelluti from the Memory Project documenting the excited reaction of these and many other children receiving the personalized artwork created by others from far away.  White-Capelluti believes portraits received by the displaced children will “act as meaningful pieces of personal history in the future”.   

In a note accompanying the video, Rose Franz, Outreach Director of The Memory Project wrote, “I am so pleased to let you know that the portraits you created were delivered to the Rohingya children, and they absolutely loved them!  As you will see in the following video, the children were so excited to receive your artwork and very touched by your efforts.  They fully understood that creating the portraits was a way to show them how much you care about their well-being and their future.”
Memory Project Participants from WHS
In the front row holding portraits created and received from refugee children in Myanmar are (left to right), Grace Ward, Chaya Lord-Rozeff, Rylie Perron, Hannah Bradish, Cailey Brickett, Roslyn Soper, and Natalie Hanagan.  In the back row (l to r) is Savanah Wilder, Thomas Ward, Sophie Killam, Abigail Durost, John Keniston, Gwen Wallingford, Braeden Baston, and Karissa Kenyon. Absent from the photo is Anna Franks and Kathryn Gilbert
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