KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For some, the portraits made by students inside Connie Creek’s classroom at Pembroke Hill School may appear to be just regular faces.
One shows a young boy with a red soccer jersey.
Another shows a teenage girl with a blue snow hat.
However, those who worked and painted the portraits know the significance of the artwork.
“These kids are from somewhere in Russia,” Creek explained. “They are in orphanages or some kind of group home.”
Creek’s art class took part in a program this past January connecting them with children in Russia.
Pictures were sent to the class and the high school students then painted portraits of all the children.
“As you’re working over the week, you start to get a sense of who this kid is,” explained Creek. “You get a sense of their personality.”
Eleven portraits in total show different children from Russia from all different backgrounds.
For Creek, the project served as a special opportunity.
“Kids often see art as something extra but this could really make a difference,” she said. “When it comes down to it we’re all people just trying to connect with each other.”
Soon after completing the portraits, the class sent their work over to the children in Russia.
A video posted to YouTube showed the reactions of them first seeing the artwork, with many of them smiling and laughing.
With ongoing tension and controversy between Russia and the United States, Creek said the art project helped spread a special message.
“I think I’ll remember the feeling that grew during the week of actually seeing this photo as a person,” she said. “To me, we need a lot more of that. Just seeing each other as people and being there for each other.”
Moving forward, Pembroke Hill School said it may participate in the program once again next January.