‘Affirmation of Life at the Gallery@First Parish: An Art Show with a Noble Cause

Nataliya Proskura and Vlad Shapiro organized “Affirmation of Life: Art from Today’s Ukraine” at the Gallery @ First Parish. Courtesy photo

Submitted by Sylvia Mallory on Behalf of the Bedford Cultural District Partnership

If you haven’t yet visited the Gallery @ First Parish on Bedford’s Town Common to see the current art exhibition and sale, wait no longer. The gallery’s stunning show, “Affirmation of Life: Art from Today’s Ukraine,” features an array of bright, life-affirming artwork in diverse media, all created by contemporary artists working in war-torn Ukraine and all of it for sale. 

The show continues through Saturday, Oct. 7 at First Parish, 75 The Great Road.  

National Upheaval and the Ukrainian Art Community

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People read daily about the social disruptions and physical destruction in Ukraine resulting from the Russian invasion. The impact on ordinary citizens has been devastating. Among those navigating the existential challenges is the community of artists who are fighting their own war: a battle to nurture, protect, preserve, and share the rich artistic and cultural traditions of Ukraine.  

The intrinsic value of supporting the arts is well expressed in these observations by the renowned Ukrainian artist Lyubov Minenko, whose work is represented in the show. He said, “Art is like oxygen. It makes everyone feel comfortable. Comfortable in their individual existence and comfortable in communicating with others. Art unites people.”

The Artists Behind the Show — and Their Goals

“Affirmation of Life” is one of the first exhibitions of its kind to come to the United States. The exhibition features exceptional artists currently working in Ukraine who cover the full spectrum of modern Ukrainian art. These brave artists are striving not only to support themselves, but also, crucially, to help adults and children across the land, including countless orphans. They are not only sharing art projects with others but also teaching classes focusing on art and culture. Importantly, such projects provide essential refuge, therapy, and healing as they focus the participants on making something creative and beautiful. 

Community Support Is Essential Through Sales and Donations

The show’s organizers, Vlad Shapiro and Nataliya Proskura, are appealing to businesses and individuals for crucial financial support for Ukrainian artists and the country’s general populace. All artwork in the show is for sale, and any piece would make a unique gift for oneself or another. Private showings of the art are available by contacting Vlad at [email protected]  or at 617-686-7517.

In addition, Vlad and Nataliya are seeking sponsorships and donations to defray the expenses of bringing “Affirmation of Life” to Massachusetts and to increase the level of funds going to Ukraine in its battle for its land, freedom, and independence. 

Sponsorships and donations in any amount related to this exhibition and the supporting artist community in Ukraine can be made to Ukrainian Cultural Initiative. 

For further information about “Affirmation of Life” and the daily schedule of activities complementing the show, go to the event website at https://ukrainian-cultural-initiative.com/en or contact Vlad Shapiro at [email protected] or 617-686-7517. 

One additional charitable organization, Mriya, is participating in this event. Mriya is a nonprofit entity created by local Ukrainians, mostly young professionals and students, to provide humanitarian support for Ukrainians, in particular medical supplies. 

Donations in any amount can be made to Mriya through its website, https://mriya-ua.org. For information on how to send funds, contact [email protected] or call 1-857-540-7777.   

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