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News Release

The Art of Giving

Primary Media Contact:
Holly Walker
Public Relations Manager
804-594-1530
hwalker@jtcc.edu

Secondary Media Contact:
Heather Busch
Creative Services Manager
804-594-1532
hbusch@jtcc.edu

Released on April 06, 2011

News Release Highlights

  • John Tyler Community College art students paint memories
  • 14 portraits created for children in Peru
  • Fifth year participating in The Memory Project

CHESTER and MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – A brush delicately sweeps the canvas. Colors blend, shadow and light make peace, and forms come into focus. A critical eye surveys the work. A smiling face looks back. Another touch of paint here, an adjustment there, and the portrait nears completion. Looking around the art studio at John Tyler Community College similar scenes unfold as student artists, poised behind their easels, put the finishing touches on a special assignment – portraits for The Memory Project. The Memory Project is an initiative that gives children who have been abandoned, orphaned, abused or neglected a personal keepsake. This is the fifth year in a row Professor Colin Ferguson’s upper-level painting students have participated in the project. Ferguson and his 13 students were each given a photograph of a child from which he or she creates a portrait. The completed artwork is then sent to the child as a gift.

This year’s portraits feature children from Peru. In previous years, Ferguson and his students have painted portraits of orphans from Uganda, Myanmar, Haiti and Ecuador. “We take for granted our family photo album,” says Ferguson. “These children don’t have that, but now, they’ll have a painting of themselves. They are often moved to learn that someone took the time to do this beautiful portrait for them.” In addition to providing students with an international connection, Ferguson says the project offers his students artistic challenges. “In a purely academic sense, it’s given my students a wide variety of people and ethnicities to paint. They’re getting the opportunity to paint people from other countries.”

Ferguson’s students, many of whom have participated in past Memory Project assignments, say they are thrilled to be creating these portraits. “I want to use my art in a way that helps society,” says Cindy Duhon. “We’ve been given this great gift, and it’s nice to use it this way.” Mary Auerbach agrees. “It’s amazing to see them holding something you’ve had in your hands. It’s a connection. It’s special.” As they worked on their portraits, Ferguson and his students discussed their experiences with The Memory Project. Watch their video at http://www.youtube.com/johntylercommcollege#p/a/u/0/Z9ZSXuUIAIA.

The Memory Project portraits are on display outside room A220 on the second floor of the Academic Building at John Tyler Community College’s Midlothian Campus through May 4, 2011. The artwork will then be sent to The Memory Project for delivery to the children in Peru. Often, photographs of the children holding their portraits are sent to Ferguson and his students as a way to say thank you. The College’s participation in this project is supported by the John Tyler Community College Foundation. For more information about The Memory Project, visit www.thememoryproject.org.

John Tyler Community College is a two-year, public institution of higher education and 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 quality and economical opportunities 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 13,690 students during the 2009 – 10 academic year, offers 17 associate degrees, seven certificates and 35 career studies certificates. The institution also serves 20,000 non-credit students and more than 1,000 companies and government agencies annually through the Community College Workforce Alliance. The College also is committed to sustainability. In July 2010, it received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification for its Midlothian Campus Science Building, becoming the first in the Virginia Community College System to receive such recognition. John Tyler Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Holly Walker, Public Relations Manager

804-594-1530
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