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Harrison High School Students Share Artwork With Teens In Tanzania

Harrison High School students show off their artwork for kids in Tanzania.
Harrison High School students show off their artwork for kids in Tanzania. Photo Credit: Contributed

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Harrison High School students are using their artwork to help people on the other side of the world.

For the second straight year, Harrison High School fine art students participated in the inspirational Memory Project, benefitting youth in Tanzania.

The Memory Project is a nonprofit organization that provides a way for art students across the country to connect with students of all ages across the world who have faced substantial challenges, such as neglect, abuse, loss of parents, violence, and extreme poverty.

Under the guidance of teachers Tracy Gilman and Lisa Monti, Esha Jan was the coordinator for the project that involved creating 25 portraits for the teens.

.“I wanted to be able to bring smiles to the kids’ faces and to have them forget for a moment about the challenges that they are facing," said Jan.

Jan presented the project to the art classes at the high school and many of the students were excited to participate.

“I was a little shy and scared at first when I was presenting to the classes,” Jan said, “But I met a lot of amazing people. We also had two bake sales which was an amazing experience as it pushed me to interact with many people from around the school.”

The Harrison High School art students received a full-page color print as well as a digital photo and were asked to create a portrait of a Tanzanian teen using any medium they would like.

Once the portrait was completed, the Harrison High School artistic photo, the original photo, and a photo of the artist were sent back to the student in a plastic sleeve allowing them to keep this memory forever. For many of these students, it was the first picture they had seen of themselves.

The photos were well received back in Tanzania, according to Ben Schumaker, founder, and director of the Memory Project.

"I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that your school’s art department has provided them with personal gifts to last a lifetime," Schumaker said.

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