NAHS remembers orphans through artwork


National Art Honors Society has just completed their annual memory project, in which they paint portraits for Orphans overseas.

The memory project is a worldwide effort to provide orphans with some sort of documentation of their childhood, something most lack.

The club is sponsored by Ms. Laura Milas, Head of the Art Department. Ms. Milas chose to have her club participate in the Memory Project, first because of the huge impact it plays on the children, and second because she is friends with the director of the Memory Project, Mr. Ben Schumaker.

“We’ve worked with kids from Kenya, Haiti, and this year we are in Paraguay,” Ms. Milas said. “Ben knows where he is going to be traveling and has the orphanages photograph those kids. We then get those photographs, and the artists are asked to create a portrait.”

Seniors Kate Krupp and Jonah Lillioja are co-presidents of the club, with the responsibility of making sure all portraits are finished in time to be shipped out to wherever Mr. Schumaker is at the time.

“Basically, the whole point of the project is to provide documentation of these orphans’ lives,” Krupp said. “To many of these kids, this is all that they have other than whatever else they can shove into a backpack before they are moved.”

The portraits are 9 by 12 inches and are delivered in a sleeve to protect them from damage while the kids move, as most Orphans do frequently.

“A few years ago, we made portraits for kids whose parents were dying of AIDS,” Krupp said. “We only made 25 that year and received a video from the Orphanage of over 100 kids celebrating by singing, dancing, and one even read a poem.”

“It feels amazing doing a project like this where we can see our efforts directly affecting the children’s lives,” Lillioja said. “I love that this project focuses so much on showing the children that people care about them as individuals.”

You do not need to be part of National Art Honors Society to create a portrait, or any other art club for that matter. Anyone can visit to receive a photograph of an orphan, and then pay to ship it out to the Orphanage.