"Missing Children Portrait Project"
Local High School Students Become Guardian Angels
In a time when budget cuts are taking Art away from students in our community, student's Art is giving back. With their art, they are creating Hope. Their portraits of missing children hold hope and act as a reminder that we must be forever vigilant in our pursuit to reunite these children with their families. These young artists are learning that through their art they can make a difference to families they have never met.
Claudia Golden, a local Santa Barbara artist, volunteered to be a Guardian Angel in this years Guardian Angel project. Having taught art to children for nearly 30 years, Ms. Golden set out to create an event that would involve student artists. She approached Santa Barbara High Schools VADA (Visual Art & Design Academy) students with a call to artists. Each volunteer would honor a missing child by creating a portrait, in the medium of their choice, from a picture found on www.missingkids.com, and would have their piece on public display for 30 days. Ms. Golden knew the value of this type of participation, both for the artist and the community.
The Guardian Angels project was conceived by American artist John Paul Thornton, as a way to spread awareness about the issue of missing children. While working as an art teacher in 1990, one of Thornton's students was abducted. Moved by the experience, he began painting portraits, depicting the faces of lost children. For over twenty years, Thornton has painted hundreds of portraits which have been exhibited in galleries and public installations, most notably at the White House and the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC .
The 2011 Guardian Angels project is an expansion of this vision, with Thornton sending his paintings to participants in North American cities. Participants like Claudia are taking on the role as "guardians" of these children's images, bringing them into their own communities as a way to intimately spread further awareness about pertinent, local missing children cases. Additionally, artist from around the world are contributing to the global scope of the guardian angels project, creating artworks of their own which shine a spotlight upon the world-wide scale of children who are reported as missing. The internet has played a powerful part of the Guardian Angels project, participants being members of deviantArt, the world's largest artist community website.
The Good Cup, 1819 Cliff Dr., will be exhibiting the Missing Children Portrait project starting May 25th, National Missing Children's Day, with an opening reception, 6:30pm - 8:30pm. Join us, meet the young artists, enjoy live music and poetry reading. John Paul Thornton's missing child's portrait will be on display, as well. The exhibit runs until June 25th.