Corcoran Students Create Artwork for Children in Syria
Published on 5/23/19
District News Corcoran High School
Imagine being a child, living in a refugee camp in Syria.
That’s what six Corcoran National Art Honor Society students did, when art teacher Jeanette Capria-Lazzaro asked for volunteers to create drawings – on their own time – for The Memory Project, a nonprofit organization that provides portraits as gifts for children around the world who are facing challenges.
“Art is a very expressive form of communication,” junior Mark Lissovenko said. “The fact that our drawings were sent to an impoverished country, where kids don’t get much exposure to art, really opens their world. I wanted to be part of that and to help make even just a small difference.”
Staff from The Memory Project sent Corcoran students photographs of children in poverty in Syria. The students had two months to create their drawings before they were sent back to be distributed.
“Through this project, I learned about Syria and the ongoing war there,” senior Beyonce Wood said. “I learned about what the country is going through, and I realized that this project would help make the kids happy and help them think of themselves in a positive way. It was a good way for us to connect with these kids.”
The artists took some artistic liberties when creating their drawings, including drawing the children wearing their favorite colors. But they also said they felt pressure to get every detail just right.
“It was crucial to me to make the drawing perfect,” junior Marwa Abedrabbah said. “I sympathized with the girl I drew. You could see in her eyes that she was in pain, and I wanted to get every detail right. This was my chance to really show what I’m capable of.”
Marwa even wrote a letter on the back of her drawing, for the child to read. “I speak Arabic, so I wanted to tell her that with pain comes ease. I wanted her to know that goodness will come out of her pain.”
The project fell in line with International Baccalaureate Programme (IB) standards of helping students make connections with other parts of the world, and students said the project helped them gain perspective not only about other cultures, but also on the impact that art can have – on people of all ages.
“Usually, art is subjective and people have different thoughts about it,” senior Tessa Culotti-Fox said. “This project was heartwarming, because kids are happy about the small things in life. It’s sweet to know that I made something that made someone else happy.”
Ms. Capria-Lazzaro said the students’ response to the project was so positive that she hopes to continue partnership with The Memory Project in the future.
“They were hesitant to be part of this at first,” Ms. Capria-Lazzaro said of her students. “They wanted everything to be exactly right. Finally, they let themselves be free with it, and the drawings came out wonderful. We have so much poverty here in Syracuse, but our kids are always willing to give whatever they can to help others, and that is inspiring.”
We’re proud of these Corcoran artists for sharing their talents to bring happiness to others!