December 1, 2023


Adorn your Feelings

Wisconsin art gallery raises funds for Ukrainian children, and a newly arrived Ukrainian family is grateful for safety

4 min read


At the Art’s House Gallery in River Falls, you’ll discover sunflowers just about everywhere in the is effective of artwork on screen.

A way to aid Ukrainian youngsters, traumatized by the war, raging on for additional than 5 months now.

“As persons in the Midwest, we do not really know what to do, and you sense helpless, because we want to support,” gallery proprietor Kay Fritz states. “We assume a portray or a card. We have cups with sunflowers, due to the fact that was the flower of hope. And which is how it started out.”

This thirty day period — the gallery has centered on an exhibition Fritz and her daughter Jill get in touch with ‘Stand With Ukraine.’

Sixteen artists are displaying 30 paintings featuring sunflowers, a image of that war-torn state.  

Just one of them is Cheryl Maplethorpe, who suggests she’s been deeply impacted by the war, and Ukraine’s will to continue to keep battling.

“I was delighted to be questioned,” she states, pointing to one of her pieces on display. “This is a sunflower that is having a minor feisty and is burning. So that’s a symbol to me of Ukraine.”

Fritz claims by means of media reports, she learned about a college in Montenegro, where by 100 Ukrainian refugee youngsters are taking classes taught by 20 refugee teachers.

She also got specifics about a summertime camp for ten displaced Ukrainian young ones — now set up in the Carpathian mountains.

“I am a retired elementary university teacher,” Fritz notes. “So encouraging small children get to a school was incredibly significant to me.”

Fritz claims she got in touch with Paul Gavrilyuk, a professor of theology at the College of St. Thomas, and the founder of “Rebuild Ukraine.”

Gavrilyuk says the St. Paul nonprofit has raised much more than $20,000 to enable fund equally the faculty and the camp.

Fritz claims the product sales from the exhibition have elevated about $700 — her objective is to elevate $1,000.  

“I used to want to take all my course residence with me and give them a shower, feed them, and hug them,” she explains. “That’s how I felt when I glance at these kids torn away from their households.”

Amid those going to the gallery Friday was Andrii Purtov, his wife Nataliia Purtova, and their approximately two-yr-old son Mark.

“They’re striving to help the young children,” he says. “We truly respect it.”  

Purtov, 36, claims his relatives fled Ukraine days soon after the Russian invasion.

He shared video and images of their damaged apartment block, in a metropolis northwest of Kyiv.

“We woke up listening to the bombs and the put we had been dwelling was less than the Russians through the future months,” Purtov remembers. “Russian soldiers were being being in our residences and our properties and they ruined virtually almost everything.”

He suggests his young relatives moved to Hungary, then Romania and Bulgaria, right before arriving in the U.S. — initially in New York, then New Jersey, then ultimately River Falls in late Could.  

That is wherever Tammy Smith, a house loan bank loan officer in city, stepped in.

Even ahead of the Purtov’s arrival, she started out exploring via social media, wanting for a Ukrainian relatives in need to have.

“I posted on a Facebook web-site that I would like to support a Ukrainian family, and had quite a few achieve out to me,” Smith remembers. “When (the Purtovs) arrived at out, I just online video chatted and felt an immediate relationship — and then we started out the paperwork.”  

Smith suggests she’s served with the family’s relocation in this article — even internet hosting them at her residence.  

“I simply cannot imagine what they went by way of and just how content they are now and being aware of what they’re nevertheless likely by with spouse and children there,” she exclaims. “It’s fairly outstanding.”

Smith says she hopes Purtov — who has also labored as a mortgage financial loan officer, and in the hospitality field — can get his federal get the job done permit in the upcoming month or two.

He says he’d like his family to settle in River Falls.

“Not just content, we’re really content to be right here,” Purtov claims. “Really it’s a lovely spot, folks are incredibly good here. Really like it, we really do not want to transfer from River Falls.”

Fritz states the exhibition formally ends Saturday — but adds she’s planning to hold any unsold paintings from the exhibition on display screen by way of August.

In this small artwork gallery — halfway all-around the globe from Ukraine — two illustrations of kindness, aiding, and hope — for dozens of Ukrainian children — and this newly arrived relatives.

“You know, it is fascinating, hopefully they get some balance and some kind of normalcy, which it’s not,” Fritz suggests.

“They did not do any erroneous. They have been just dwelling their regular life and all of a sudden, there’s bombs going about their dwelling,” Smith adds. “Try to picture, what if this occurred in our state, and we necessary to depart and wanted an additional nation to assist us out, or any person to assistance. I would hope that any individual would assist.”  

You can come across out a lot more about Art’s Property Gallery in this article.

For a lot more info about Rebuild Ukraine, click on right here.


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