Student artists learn many skills through their classes. They study form and perspective; colors; light and shadow; and more as they work in various mediums. Art, however, is about more than a set of techniques. It’s about making connections. That’s why class assignments like the Memory Project are so important to the student artists at John Tyler Community College. The
Memory Project is an initiative that gives children and teens, from all over the world, who have been abandoned, orphaned, abused or neglected, a personal keepsake. This semester, Professor Colin Ferguson and the students in his Painting III/IV class painted portraits of children from Syria.
Each student artist received a photograph of a child or teen. After studying the details in the photograph, the student artists got to work, using the skills they’ve been refining with Ferguson’s help. After several weeks, 18 portraits were completed. As they worked on the project, many of the artists felt a connection to the children who were being painted. “Considering what’s happening in Syria now,
this may be our most significant involvement with the Memory Project,” says Ferguson. “I cannot think of children more deserving of my students’ gifts.”
This is the eleventh time John Tyler Community College
has participated in the Memory Project. In past semesters, Ferguson and his students have painted portraits
of children from Madagascar, Ghana, Nepal, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Peru, Uganda, Myanmar, Haiti and Ecuador.
The newly completed paintings are currently on display on the second floor of Eliades Hall at the College’s Midlothian Campus. Members of the community who are on campus to sign up for spring semester classes or to visit the college are invited to see the exhibit. After January 13, 2017, the portraits will be taken down, carefully wrapped and shipped to the Memory Project, which will deliver the paintings to the children who are featured in them. The College’s participation in this project is supported by the John Tyler Community College Foundation.
For more information about the Memory Project, visit https://memoryproject.org/.
John Tyler Community College is the fifth largest of the 23 community colleges in Virginia. With campuses in Chester and Midlothian and off-campus classrooms throughout the area, John Tyler offers affordable, quality programs for students who want to earn a degree or certificate, transfer to a four-year college or university, train for the workforce, or switch careers. The College, which served more than 14,100 students during the 2015-16 academic year, offers more than 60 majors, including associate degrees and certificates. The institution also serves more than 13,000 non-credit trainees and over 1,000 companies and government agencies annually through the Community College Workforce Alliance.