The Memory Project 2013 Focuses on Filipino Children

NDA Art Students Provide Artwork of Needy Children

In the past few years, it has become tradition for the art classes at Notre Dame Academy to participate in what is called The Memory Project.

Art teacher Mrs. Barb Brandtner came across The Memory Project when it was featured in an art magazine.

“It seemed to be a great way for art students to use their talents in service to others,” Brandtner said.

The Memory Project is a unique initiative in which art students create portraits for children and teens around the world who have been neglected, orphaned, or disadvantaged.

Select art classes at Notre Dame receive photos of the orphans through the project and recreate the images in different art media of their choice, unless assigned to certain one.

“Sometimes students are so moved by this experience that they work on a second portrait,” Brandtner said.

When the portraits are completed, they are sent back to the various organizations or orphanages where they came from, and  the children are video-recorded as they patiently wait to receive their portraits.

The Memory Project also allows students to bring culture into their art pieces, portfolio, and research while it is a chance for them to gain knowledge about other countries, Brandtner said.

“It’s a chance to connect with kids around the world and to give them something they’ll appreciate,” Senior IB art student Sydney Hermes said. “These kids appreciate the portraits so much and I love being able to make them happy.”

This year, Brandtner reached out to founder and director Ben Schumaker and requested photos from the Philippines. In the past, photos were requested from various countries such as Rwanda, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Myanmar.

“It’s a small reminder that children everywhere are in poverty and any little thing makes them happy,” senior IB art student Gwen Simonet said.

Receiving the photographs of the Filipino children earlier in the semester, the art students were relieved to hear from Schumaker in an email that none of the children were affected by the super typhoon that had devastated the country in early November.

“When the video comes back with the kids holding my art I gave them, it gives me a warm cozy feeling inside,” senior IB art student Victoria Koch said. “I’ve learned more about places around the world since this is my third time doing it. It’s my way of connecting with other people.”

To find out more about this or to see picture and videos about The Memory Project, visit the official website at