- EST. 2004 -
The Memory Project is dedicated to promoting intercultural awareness, friendship, and kindness between children around the world through the universal language of art.
We facilitate two global programs: a Portrait Program where high school art students create portraits as special gifts for children facing substantial challenges around the world and an Art Exchange where elementary and middle school students engage in positive citizen diplomacy by exchanging heartfelt artwork with children from countries in tension with the USA.
Promoting intercultural awareness, creating unique childhood memories, showing children around the world that they are valued.
By facilitating the creation and delivery of heartfelt artwork made by children for children, we strive to break cultural barriers, leave children with a unique childhood memory, inspire creativity, show children living in difficult situations that they are valued, and cultivate a kinder world. We want to empower teachers and students in their pursuit of the same goals.
The Memory Project was founded by Ben Schumaker in 2004 while he was studying psychology and social work at the University of Wisconsin. Ben had just spent a month at an orphanage in Guatemala where he learned that the children had few special belongings to help capture their life stories. Because Ben had always enjoyed creating portraits for friends and family in school art classes, he had the idea to organize art teachers and their students to create portraits that could serve as positive and tangible childhood “memories” for the children. Once he started delivering these portraits to children around the world, he realized that they also helped to build feelings of international friendship and solidarity. The portraits seemed to make the world a little smaller and kinder, and that is what the Memory Project is all about.