Countryside Gallery and Frame Design owners Michael Hammer and Richard Fekete hosted “Portraits of Change” this past Saturday afternoon in their Newtown Borough shop.
Twenty eight artists ranging from age 9 to 17 used acrylics to depict people whom they wanted to recognize as a person who has dedicated their life to living a life of service to others, promoting peace, tolerance and equality.
Some students already had a person in mind while others picked a person of interest from a list compiled by the students at a private art class. The project took several months for the students to complete meeting for classes on a weekly basis. The younger students used the grid system to assist them with their project.
Bonnie Porter, the private art teacher who works with the kids, came upon the idea back in November when students were upset about a discrimination incident that arose at Council Rock North High School.
“Why don’t we paint people who created change by devoting their lives to promoting peace, equality, and helping others?” Porter recalled asking.
Porter also wanted to help raise money for Langhorne-based The Peace Center to help address problems locally.
Students were able to pick someone they admired of their own or choose from a list of people. The younger artists used the grid system for their portraits.
Cameron Blauth, a Council Rock North student, painted Princess Leia as a tribute to actress Carrie Fisher’s efforts to advocate for those with mental health issues.
Grace Porter, who painted a portrait is of Gandhi, said she felt it was important to talk about human rights issues and “these portraits give a way to start communication”.
Fekete said all the portraits are recognizable icons of history.
The artwork will be on display through June 11 at Countryside Gallery and Frame Design at the corner of South State Street and Washington Avenue.