Now Reading: Doug Noble’s art reaches children around the world


Doug Noble’s art reaches children around the world

Doug Noble, a long-time anti-war activist, draws portraits of children in tough situations across the globe. His work is part of the larger Memory Project started by Ben Schumaker, that promotes intercultural understanding and kindness between children around the world. It has reached 320,000 youth in 57 countries since 2004.

“Doug is one of our most active volunteers, always happy to offer his time and talent,” says Schumaker. “I really appreciate him for that.  The drawings he’s made for kids in our program have made their way all over the world.”

What follows is a Q&A with Doug Noble followed by some project foundational questions for Ben Schumaker:

Boom Town Press: How did you get involved with Memory Project?

Doug Noble: This amazing guy in Wisconsin who started the project reached out to art teachers to have their students do portraits of kids around the world in dire straits, connecting kids with kids through art. My wife Jen Little is an art teacher and she passed it on to me.

BTP: Have you always been an artist? Have you done portraits before? 

DN: I’ve always been an artist, drawing portraits of my family and my students for years. In my autobiography from 4th grade, which I still have, I repeatedly wrote “I love art!”

BTP: Can you say a little bit about how the portraits you make are received from the r6efugees/orphans? 

DN: I could send you a heartwarming video or two of the excited kids receiving their portraits. It means the world to them.

BTP: Can you tell us a little about the biographies or backgrounds of the subjects of your drawings?

DN: I don’t know much except for the young women whose portraits I sent you. They were activists at home who escaped from Afghanistan to Pakistan and then to the US. (Ben could tell you everything about all the kids.) Other artists would be welcome to join the project, which they would greatly benefit from.

BTP: Do you have any thoughts on art as a continuation of your past political work or distinct from that?

DN: These days I feel sort of despairing about what I can do to impact this horrific world situation, but doing these drawings feels like a meaningful, if small, political contribution.  Also making art through these drawings helps me to live a life worth living.

BTP: What are your general ruminations on art, its importance, or role in culture?

DN: For me classical music is the center part of my life. I can’t live without it. I don’t play an instrument but I’ve been taking voice lessons the past few years and practicing opera. Arias I love, it means the world to me. I also live at Eastman for their free concerts. As for the important role of art in culture: check out what matters to us in assessing ancient cultures…

Q&A with Ben Schumaker

BTP: Are you an artist?

Ben Schumaker: Yes, I am an amateur portrait artist, although I don’t have enough time to create many portraits myself, nowadays.

BTP: How did you come up with the idea? in college? Did it dawn on you then that it would become as big as it is today, impacting hundreds of thousands of children?

Schumaker: I was volunteering at an orphanage in Guatemala in 2003 when a man there pointed out that the kids didn’t have many personal keepsakes to contribute to their sense of self identity.  I had always enjoyed doing portraits in high school, so I thought it could be powerful to get art students involved in making portraits for the kids.  From that starting point, it was just a matter of taking one step at a time: invite a few high schools to make portraits, invite an orphanage to receive portraits, get a few more high schools, another orphanage, and so on.  I was very grateful to see in those early years that many art teachers and students loved the experience of creating portraits for the kids, so I began to hope that the effort would spread into high schools across the US with time.

BTP: What other projects are you involved in?

Schumaker: To be honest, none!  This is pretty much the only thing I do.


What do you think?

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  • George Dardess

    March 18, 2024 / at 10:16 amsvgReply

    I’ve known and admired Doug for years, first during his years of activism, now in his years as an artist. Doug’s political writing—his posts, summaries of events, and calls to action— are so similar to his portraits: clear, direct, and tersely eloquent, as well as informed by a deep humanity unclouded by sentimentality, while subtly conveying a challenge, a responsibility and a need for response. Doug shows us some of the many dimensions of what it means to “love they neighbor.”

  • George Dardess

    March 18, 2024 / at 11:56 amsvgReply

    Sorry about the misspelling. “Thy,” not “they.”


    May 23, 2024 / at 10:33 amsvgReply
    이를 본 Liu Jian, Xie Qian, Ma Wensheng도 서로를 축하했습니다.


    May 25, 2024 / at 3:37 amsvgReply
    Chen Tong과 다른 사람들의 말을 듣고 Hongzhi 황제는 자랑스러워 할 수 없었습니다.


    May 28, 2024 / at 11:59 amsvgReply
    유언장을 마음에 품고 그는 먼저 의식 감독관에게 가서 봉인을 받고 캐비닛으로 갔다!

  • ucuz berber tezgahları

    May 30, 2024 / at 11:27 pmsvgReply

    This is a great point. I hadn’t thought about it that way before.

  • k8 カジノ

    June 2, 2024 / at 12:47 amsvgReply



    June 5, 2024 / at 3:40 amsvgReply
    Zhu Xiurong은 조심스럽게 말했습니다. “매우 심각합니까?”

  • 슬롯

    June 11, 2024 / at 6:28 amsvgReply
    Fang Jifan은 미소를 지으며 “그의 전하가 이야기를 들려주세요. “라고 말했습니다.

  • Thank you for your sharing. I am worried that I lack creative ideas. It is your article that makes me full of hope. Thank you. But, I have a question, can you help me?

  • 슬롯

    June 22, 2024 / at 5:39 amsvgReply

    에그벳 주소
    최근에 그는 바람과 감기에 걸렸고 오늘은 여전히 기침을 계속하면서 아픈 몸을 가지고 왔습니다.

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    Doug Noble’s art reaches children around the world