Thanks to Hilton Head Island High School teacher Monique Dobbelaere for sharing an update on a special art project at the school.
For the past six years, Hilton Head Island High School students have participated in the Memory Project, a global art initiative founded in 2004 by Wisconsin college student Ben Schumaker.
Its goal is to have high school art students across the nation create portraits for children who have been orphaned, providing them with a special memory of their youth. Since its inception, the students have created portraits for children in Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua. More recently, portraits have been sent to the Tibetan Children's Village in Dharamsala, India.
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The partnership between the Tibetan Children's Village and our art classes began three years ago, when Schumaker extended the honor of portrait delivery to me.
Three strands of "peace" flags, school supplies and more than 100 portraits were delivered to the village with help of a partial grant provided by the Island School Council for the Arts. The Tibetan Children's Village principal and art teacher expressed interest in continuing the project, beginning the formation of the annual exchange of art and cultural insight.
One highlight of the trip was the discovery of a "Peace Pole" on the grounds of a local Tibetan artisan community in close proximity to the village.
This very same message is echoed half a world away in our school's Visual and Performing Arts Center. Behind the flock of peace cranes (created by our drawing, painting and sculpture students) are colorful hanging banners that display the same message in various languages as on the peace pole: May peace prevail on Earth.
Last spring, local artists from Hilton Head and Bluffton joined the high school students in the Memory Project effort, helping to complete the overflow of portraits sent from the Tibetan Children's Village. Almost everyone who participated received a picture of the child holding his or her custom-made portrait.
The pictures were taken by the Tibetan Children's Village art teacher, Dorjee, who also created a "Hilton Head Island High School art exhibit" at the Tibetan Children's Village school.
Presently, our drawing and painting classes are creating new portraits for the next group of Tibetan Children's Village students.
There are 15 extra portraits. If you are interested in participating, contact Monique Dobbelaere at 843-689-4800 for more information.
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