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Halifax event raising funds for Ukrainian children to study the arts


While many benefits over the past year have been helping Ukrainian refugees with the essentials they need to get settled in Canada, an upcoming event is putting a spotlight on the importance of children continuing their cultural education.

The Ukrainian Cultural Society of Halifax is holding a Refugee Benefit Night event Wednesday night at the Pacifico nightclub featuring music, dance, art, food and a silent auction.

Vladimir Kostylev, the president of the society, has family who have stayed in Ukraine since Russia invaded last year.

“It helps to do something and to be active, organize events, raise money, because this is the way we can feel that we are investing our energy in helping people,” he says.

“Our society wants to be very specifically helping Ukrainian children who need to continue to, or start, their musical or arts education in Canada. And this is often overlooked because people are worried about food and clothing and apartments, but the culture is very important too.”

Terry Brennan came up with the idea for the fundraiser. His band Ranchero is also performing at the event.

“When the war started, my daughter and her partner, who are both physicians in Montreal, they went to Poland to help with the stream of refugees coming out. They set up a kind of medical facility in a monastery in the Carpathian Mountains,” he says.

“I’ve been kind of boosting Ukraine ever since, so our band decided we were going to do a benefit.”

Art will be among the silent auction items offered at the event.

One of those items is a shadow box by artist Lindsay Kierstead called “Peace for Ukraine” featuring a dove carrying an olive branch in front of a Ukrainian flag.

“It’s very beautiful,” says Kostylev. “She’s a very talented artist, she’s helping us a lot.”

Other examples include traditional Petrykivka style paintings by artist Yulia Ursatiy.

“She’s leading an art studio where she teaches kids how to paint,” Kostylev says. “[It’s] a classical Ukraine painting style which is protected by UNESCO since 2013. It has really kind of nice, distinct brush strokes, it’s always done on the white background and people used to decorate their houses with this.”

People can buy tickets to Wednesday’s event online with all proceeds going towards sponsoring Ukrainian childrens’ music and arts education in Canada.

Kostylev says the fundraiser is a great way for people to immerse themselves in Ukrainian culture.

“We have so many talented people who just volunteer their talents to this event. You’ll enjoy it.” Top Stories

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