ALTON - Faces Not Forgotten, an Alton-based nonprofit organization and art project honoring children killed by gun violence with portraits and quilts, has been named a winner of Gold and Silver-level awards in the 2nd Annual Anthem Awards.

The organization was named a Gold winner for Innovative Products and Services in the Special Projects category, as well as a Silver winner for Community Outreach in the Education, Art, & Culture category. More information about the awards and project is available here.

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“We elevate the individual humanity of each young gun violence victim by painting their portraits to give dignity to these children. These portraits are donated to the survivor families,” said Christine Ilewski, founder and executive director of Faces Not Forgotten. “We then assemble the images into quilts, organized by state, and exhibit them in venues across the country hoping to shift our collective social consciousness and ignite change.”

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Since 2010, Faces Not Forgotten has painted over 300 portraits of gun violence victims aged 20 and under. Their quilts travel nationwide to be displayed in exhibits, including one at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas, honoring young victims of gun violence in Texas as well as Fr. Larry Rosebaugh, a native St. Louisan and former Godfrey resident who was murdered in Guatemala in 2009.

Each quilt depicts eight children’s portraits to symbolize the eight children lost to gun violence every day. All quilts feature children from the same state, and so far, there are quilts for 19 states. A portrait of a child lost to gun violence can be requested at

The 2nd Annual Anthem Awards saw nearly 2,000 entries from 43 countries around the world. Winners will be honored at a Winners Celebration event on Feb. 27 in New York City, which can be watched online at

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