Senior's Take on Missing Person Posters

The most important factor in finding missing people is to keep their face in the public eye. Notre Dame College senior Jillian Malee has taken this effort to a new level. Malee has painted portraits of missing adults and children to spread awareness of those missing from Ohio’s neighborhoods. Her senior art exhibit “Have You Seen Me?” will open in NDC’s Performing Arts Center on Thursday, April 7.

Inspired by the infamous Anthony Sowell case and the community outrage that followed, Malee drew acrylic and colored pencil portraits of people listed on the website of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and These drawings on painted canvasses have a much bigger impact than the conventional missing person poster, Malee said.  

“It takes the missing person poster away from being a disposable piece of paper,” Malee said. “That is my objective, to take the poster away from disposable media and keep their face in the public eye.”

Majoring in art education at Notre Dame College, Malee tried to be realistic in her portraits without sacrificing her artistic creativity. “Although being realistic is important, I also have a need to be expressive,” the Cleveland native said. “That is why my rendering of the people is not identical to their missing person poster, even though I am using their poster as a guideline.”

The portraits are enclosed in golden frames “to emphasize the treasure seen within the frame,” Malee said. “The people I have portrayed are loved by someone, they are someone’s treasure,” she said. “Their image deserves to be treated as such.”

Malee’s senior exhibit will open with a reception and gallery talk on April 7 from 5 to 7 p.m. The talk is slated to start at 6:30 p.m. Her free exhibit will be on display Mondays through Fridays from noon to 6 p.m. until Friday, May 6. Until then, Malee hopes, her exhibit will honor the memory of the missing and possibly aid in returning them to their loved ones.

“If we forget about them, if we dispose of them, they will never be found,” Malee said. “I want everyone I have drawn to return home alive and safe. But whether or not these people get to return to their families, they are not forgotten, and they are honored here.”

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. The Performing Arts Center is located on the ground floor of the Administration Building. For any additional information contact Rachel Morris, chair of the arts and humanities division, at 216.373.5320 or e-mail her at


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