Never underestimate the power of art. Folks can help Ukrainian refugees by purchasing artist-created works of sunflowers through the “Sunflowers for Ukraine” exhibition currently on display at the Dunedin Fine Art Center.
All of the proceeds will be donated to World Central Kitchen, founded by Spanish American chef José Andrés. The kitchen has set up at a 24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland to feed Ukrainian refugees.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, sunflowers have long been a symbol of Ukrainian national identity. They were first introduced into the country in the 18th century and today are a key component of its economy. Now, as Russia continues to invade Ukraine, the flower has become a symbol of peace.
The exhibition came together as a response to the “power of the moment of what we’re observing with our human family,” said curatorial director Catherine Bergmann.
It also happened out of opportunity. Following the center’s Trashy Treasures sale of art and supplies in March, Gail Gamble, an artist who sponsors and works behind the scenes on the sale, found an abundance of leftover paper.
Bergmann got the idea to cut the pieces of paper to a uniform size and have the art community create works with them as a way to raise money for Ukraine.
“Everybody just delivered in a huge way with some exquisite creations,” Bergmann said. “It’s clear the time and love and care that were put into some of these pieces.”
The artists donated their works for the fundraiser. Rather than pricing them individually, they are sold by donation, the minimum of which is $10.
Since the exhibition opened on April 1, Bergmann said, about one third of the 165 artworks have already been sold. Some donations were as high as $250.
Gamble was also involved in choosing the charity, Bergmann said, as she was also one of the patrons who donated to the center’s food arts kitchen. They trust Andrés and the World Central Kitchen for their visibility. They have not been in contact with the charity yet, but Bergmann thinks they will send the donation in one lump sum.
The works will stay up through May 15. They can be viewed and purchased in person, or viewed on the center’s social media accounts and purchased over the phone. They are arranged in an alphanumerical grid that makes it easy to choose the desired artwork.
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“Sunflowers for Ukraine” is on view through May 15. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd. 727-298-3322. dfac.org.