By Alyssa Uyeda
Since 2011, the AVPA Visual Art Department from The Academy of Visual and Performing Arts at Culver City High school has been creating portraits of orphans for a non-profit organization called the Memory Project. Over the last 6 years, AVPA Art has created 450 portraits from 10 different countries around the world.
As this unique tradition continues, AVPA art students select a photo of an orphan provided by the organization, and craft a portrait using the medium of their choice. These art pieces are then personally delivered to the orphan in their specific country. A video of the orphans receiving their handcrafted portraits is then sent to AVPA artists themselves as a keepsake and completes the process of this program. This fall semester, students created 50 portraits of orphans from both the Philippines and Syria, and have made their personalized art pieces for the orphans as a special gift. In addition to making a portrait, every student who participated in the department’s tradition wrote a personalized note on the back of each piece, addressed specifically to their orphan in the orphan’s native language.
“It was nice to think about how profoundly my effort will positively impact these children’s lives,” said Junior and AVPA artist, Ana Belcher. The Memory Project is one of the most unusual and gratifying experiences in the AVPA art department because students are able to impact another individual’s life by expressing their creativity. This personalized experience is one of a kind, and the extensive time and effort that the students take to create their artwork translates into how much they cherish this unique process. “I feel honored to have had the opportunity to participate in making these portraits throughout my 4 years in AVPA Art,” reflects Senior and AVPA artist, Lismary Escamilla. “Being able to make these portraits has demonstrated that I can make a huge difference and impact the world with my creativity.”
1) AVPA Artists create portraits for Syria and The Philippines
2) Juliana creates her portrait for the Philippines
3) Ana makes her portrait for Syria
4) Isabella chooses 2 orphans for Syria and The Philippines
5) Vanessa adds her greeting in Arabic for orphans in Syria
6) Sara and her orphan from The Philippines
7) Alyssa creates a color portrait for her orphan in The Philippines