The war in Ukraine is growing more atrocious by the day, with Russian forces increasingly aiming bombs and missiles at civilians. Yesterday, airstrikes hit a theater sheltering hundreds of displaced families in the besieged city of Mariupol, the latest in a concerning number of recent “indiscriminate attacks” flagged by the United Nations as possible war crimes.
Ukrainians are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance, and while global aid organizations ramp up their important work, the arts community is doing its part to support them, raising funds and awareness. Some initiatives are already proving successful: Polish artist Karol Radziszewski’s print of renowned Ukrainian poet and feminist pioneer Lesya Ukrainka, illustrated above, was sold out in less than three days and helped raise over $11,000 for relief efforts.
Below is a selection of ongoing art fundraisers, from online print sales to an in-person concert in New York City. All the organizers have said they will donate 100% of the proceeds to verified entities helping to alleviate the suffering caused by Russia’s senseless war.
Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund
Four Ukraine-based art organizations — the Museum of Contemporary Art NGO (MOCA), Zaborona, the Naked Room, and Mystetskyi Arsenal — launched the Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund (UEAF) to assist the nation’s art community impacted by the war. The fund, administered by MOCA, offers one-time financial aid or stipends for up to three months for cultural workers from different sectors, from independent curators to researchers and writers. Donations can be made directly on the fund’s website, which also provides a Google Docs form for those in danger to request help.
“We immediately felt that this was not just an unexpected tyranny move from Putin, but actually a carefully planned imperialistic ambition of Russia to neo-colonise Ukraine in full spectrum: territory, soil, people and culture,” Ilya Zabolotnyi, CEO and co-founder of UEAF, told Hyperallergic. “That’s when we understood that even during this war it is our task is to ensure the continuity and development of the Ukrainian cultural process during the war, so that the voice of cultural actors of Ukraine remains free, alive and strong.”
Solidarity Prints for Artists at Risk
Artists at Risk (AR), a nonprofit founded by Marita Muukkonen and Ivor Stodolsky in 2013 to protect cultural workers escaping persecution and war, said it has received hundreds of applications from Ukrainian artists and others seeking relocation in recent weeks. The organization is raising funds for emergency resources, travel aid, and shelter through its Solidarity Prints fundraiser, featuring works by 70 artists all priced at €200 (~$222). The sale includes an untitled inkjet print by Rirkrit Tiravanija, whose newsprint collages invite a more profound reflection on current events. In this particular print, the artist overlaid the New York Times’s surreal front page on February 24, the day of the Russian invasion, with a message of hope: “Shine Light Into Dark Places.” Other artists in AR’s sale include Nan Goldin, Isaac Julien, Sanya Kantarovsky, and Amy Sillman.
Artists for Ukraine by Her Clique
This sensual and humorous painting by Brooklyn-based artist Jay Miriam is included in a fundraising sale for Ukraine organized by Her Clique, a group that elevates the work of women artists and supports like-minded nonprofits. Miriam is joined by Katharine Bradford, Deborah Kass, Marilyn Minter, Laurie Simmons, Cindy Sherman and other artists who donated work to help Voices of Children, a Ukrainian organization providing psychological support to the youngest victims of war. As the Russian invasion continues, Voices of Children is also aiding in evacuation efforts. New works will be added on Her Clique’s website every few days throughout the month of March, coinciding with Women’s Month worldwide.
Ortega y Gasset Projects Fundraiser for Ukraine
The Brooklyn artist-run center Ortega y Gasset (OyG) will be auctioning one artwork per day on its Instagram account through March 25 with all proceeds benefiting the Ukrainian human rights organization Razom and the UN World Food Programme. The works were donated by artists currently included in OyG’s Surface Tension exhibition and by the center’s own directors. Bidding for each work will start at $100 and last 24 hours, with all bids recorded in the comments section of each artwork’s Instagram post.
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery Art Fundraiser
Through mid-April, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood is running a fundraising sale featuring many of the artists in its program, including Sandra Cinto, Sabine Hornig, Tomás Saraceno, and Sarah Sze. All proceeds will be evenly distributed between the International Committee of the Red Cross; the Fundacja Ocalenie, which is helping Ukrainian refugees who arrive in Poland; and Voices of Children. According to a gallery spokesperson, the sale has raised over $400,000 so far.
10,000 Tones for Peace: A Benefit Concert in New York
This Friday, March 18, over 50 musicians, dancers, and poets will perform in a five-hour concert to benefit Doctors Without Borders in Ukraine at the Clemente Flamboyán Theater in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The event is organized by the Clemente Soto Cultural Center and two sound and music nonprofits, Arts for Art and Deep Tones for Peace. The lineup includes Frank the London Brass Band and a string ensemble led by violinist Jason Kao Hwang. William Parker, hailed as “the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time,” will close the event with a full ensemble. Both virtual and in-person tickets are available, with a suggested donation of $25.