Young Scottsdale artists participate in The Memory Project

From left is, Trinity Winberry, Kyle Murphy, Soraia Esteves, Jennifer Kiraly, Samantha Shank, Teya Craik, Isabelle Zillwood and Kristina Kellogg participated in the 2017 Memory Project to paint portraits for Syrian children to keep as precious mementos of their childhood. (submitted photo)

Notre Dame Prep art students have created portraits for eight orphaned Syrian children through nonprofit organization, Memory Project.

Memory Project aims to provide student-created art to youth who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, violence and extreme poverty, according to a press release.

Given that youth in such situations have few personal keepsakes, the purpose of the portraits is to provide them with meaningful mementos of their youth, the press release stated. The project also allows art students to practice kindness and global awareness while enhancing their portraiture skills.

NDP senior Nikki D’Agostino proudly holds up her portrait of a Syrian refugee girl. (submitted photo)

Students at Notre Dame Prep are participating as part of Jennifer Kiraly’s advanced painting class.

The students received photos of orphan children in Syria, then worked in their classroom to create the portraits.

Once finished, the Memory Project delivers the portraits to the children with a photograph of the painter on the back. In total, Notre Dame Prep students created and sent portraits to eight children, the press release stated.

“This project was an absolute blessing that I consider to be the highlight of my art career thus far,” said NDP senior Nikki D’Agostino in a prepared statement. “I am so honored to know that a piece of my hard work is going to a child who will cherish and love every brushstroke.”

The paintings have arrived in Syria, and Memory Project volunteers will soon deliver them to the recipients. In return, Memory Project will send a video of their reactions to the participating artists at NDP.

“I’m so proud of my students and impressed with their generosity,” Ms. Kiraly said in a prepared statement. “They took this assignment very seriously.”

The Memory Project is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Middleton, Wis. Since the project began in 2004, more than 100,000 American art students have created portraits for children in 44 countries.

Notre Dame Prep is at 9701 E. Bell Road in Scottsdale.

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