Connecting Chicago to Cameroon with Art

Art can be a conduit for understanding and kindness between people around the world. Art teacher Caroline Gardner knows this well as a practicing artist, parent and teacher. Recently, Gardner introduced her 7th grade student artists to The Memory Project, which connects students in schools with their peers in orphanages through handmade, heartfelt portraits.

Gardner provided each participating student with a photograph of an orphan from the Central African country of Cameroon. She also shared each child’s name, age and favorite color. Parker sends thanks to members of The Memory Project who took the photos, collected these details and provided them to Gardner for this project.

During a series of classes, students worked diligently to produce hand-drawn portraits of each child’s photo with a background reflecting the child’s favorite color. Parker students also traced their hands on the back and wrote a short note about the drawing. 

The class will mail these portraits and notes to students in Cameroon after the December Recess. These portraits help children feel valued and important, know that many people care about their well-being and have a special childhood memory.

Gardner shared, “It is amazing to see how art can connect one person to another. Drawing a portrait of someone is so personal and meaningful. I loved seeing how each student worked extra-hard to make sure their Cameroon partner would have a beautiful drawing to keep.”

Click here for photos.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.