SchoolArts Magazine

December 2016

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 46 of 54

PAGE SPONSORED BY: Ben Schumaker F O C U S I N A t some point in the past five years, you probably have seen images of Syrians fleeing their country, trying desperately to reach Europe or struggling to survive in the refugee camps just beyond the Syrian border. Gazing at those images, it is natural to imagine the depth of their grief and the intensity of their strug- gle. And because we know so little about them, it's even more challeng- ing to imagine their lives before the war. When the war started and mil- lions began to flee, did they spend the final hour in the comfort of whatever place they knew best? Did they bar- ricade doors and bar windows, hoping to return one day? Or did they try to sell their home and everything inside for a fraction of its former value to raise cash for unknown challenges ahead? What Makes a Home Lastly, what do we imagine them choosing to bring? Blankets? A cook- ing pot? Matches? A toy? Did they take one last look at the things that truly make a home a home, with memories tied to every picture, gifts given and received, the toys of a child? Those with enough money to afford the journey to Europe would risk it; those without would try only to find safety on the other side of the border, looking for space in the refugee camps. Gifts of Hope Years have passed. In September 2016, the camps are still full—the size of small cities. Refugees are still living in makeshift shelters, being kept alive by the donated food of foreign govern- ments and aid agencies. So many of the children who live there do not remember any other existence. It is for these children and their families that we would like to invite your students to create special gifts. Our nonprofit organization, the Memory Project, will receive photos of nearly 1,000 children living in the camps on the Syrian border. We would love for your students to study these photos and create portraits just for these children. The Memor Project Meaningful Pieces Receiving these portraits will help to show the children that people far away care about their well-being. The portraits can be attached to the walls of their shelters, and hopefully one day accompany them back to Syria. The portraits may even help to make home feel like home again. If your students are interested in creating portraits, please email us at or call 608-467-5706. Thank you for being a part of this special initiative. Ben Schumaker is the director of the Mem- ory Project. portraits@ W E B L I N K Since 2004, the Memor Project has created more than 80,000 portraits for children in thirt -five countries. 42 DECEMBER 2016 SchoolArts

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