About Us

- EST. 2004 -

The Memory Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting intercultural understanding and kindness between children around the world through school-based art programs.  We have been fortunate to have 280,000 youth involved in 55 countries since 2004. 

 Promoting intercultural kindness, creating unique childhood memories, showing children around the world that they are valued.

Our Vision

By facilitating the creation and delivery of heartfelt artwork from youth to youth throughout the world, we strive to break cultural barriers, bring joy to children facing challenges, inspire creativity, and build a kinder world.  We are highly dedicated to collaborating with all teachers and students in pursuit of these goals.


Our History

The Memory Project was founded by Ben Schumaker in 2004 while he was a graduate student 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.  Since 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 heartfelt 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.  While this effort was initially designed for advanced high school art students, we have since developed an art exchange open to students of all levels and abilities.

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