Lake Mary students create portraits of children for Memory Project

LAKE MARY, Fla. – Lake Mary High School art students are giving a special gift to children in Puerto Rico through a worldwide project.

The Memory Project began in 2004. The goal is to cultivate kindness by inviting artists to create portraits of children who have gone through difficult times.

Art teacher Karen LeBlanc said her class was given the option of creating portraits for students either in Puerto Rico or Colombia and chose Puerto Rico.

"Some have lost their entire home. Some have lost their parents," LeBlanc said.

Each artist is given a photograph of a student and basic information, like their name, age and favorite color. Artists can choose to work with any medium.

Senior Ryan Fisher created a portrait of 10-year-old Arianna using colored pencils.

"Mine was Arianna. She is 10 years old and an orphan in Puerto Rico, and her favorite color is pink," he said. "It was a lot of layering to get the right skin tone and everything. Hopefully, it's a good representation of her."

LeBlanc photographs each artist holding the portrait and attaches the picture to the portrait. She says it helps personalize the art.

"They just can't believe someone in another country is thinking of them and caring about them by sending them a personal portrait," she said.

Since 2004, The Memory Project has created more than 130,000 portraits for children in 47 countries. The organization asks for a $15 donation per portrait. If you'd like to sponsor an artist, click here.

About the Author:

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.