The Colors of Heritage

Spring is here, hope is here

Springtime is good for inspiration and new beginnings. It has been inspiring for us as well. We launched our new program aimed to support education and development of children in Ukraine whose wellbeing has come under threat due to current war.

The Colors of Heritage is an international collaborative project aimed to build a platform for knowledge and resource exchange to support schoolchildren in Ukraine. Art and history education has been an integral part of cultural awareness of Ukrainians, and many other nationalities. Importantly, applied arts is a multifunctional tool that has been utilized by teachers and families around the world to educate and to heal emotional trauma.

We can proudly say, that from the very first steps, our initiative has received a warm welcome by parents and teachers in Ukraine, as well as it is gaining an increasing number of supporters. We see results in engagements, creativity, and most importantly – smiles on faces that have seen horrors most of us can not imagine. Every little step, every little change towards a happier more successful future of our next generation, creates new possibilities and more people join this cause.

Art and classroom supplies

Children’s art studio “Rainbow” run by Olga Kitsmanuk at The Cultural Heritage Palace of Zhovti Vody, Ukraine, is one of the examples of a safe learning environment where children share their dreams for the future, and work towards them through creativity. These schoolchildren come from various backgrounds, but they all share the devastating pain caused by this war. They all inquire about the nearest bomb shelter during their first visit to the studio.

Conversations about their parents on the battlefields, near death experiences, escapes from occupied territories under direct fire, constant anxiety over the next air siren, eyewitness stories of things children should never have come across in their lives, all these and more is what children share over art as part of their reality. Therefore teachers, parents, and psychologists have been working together to minimize the affects of war on development and education. Our role is to provide lacking resources that aid in this process.

Art supplies are at the heart of children’s creative learning, but unfortunately, for a lot of families, obtaining those is not possible under the circumstances. We close that gap by supplying places, such as art studio “Rainbow”, so children that lack resources can continue developing talents towards a happier future. We encourage them to keep dreaming and to plan for success.

Talent appreciation and Heritage Celebration Days

To encourage the artistic process, positive social interaction, and confidence, our teachers and parents are working with us through a series of group events. These include indoor and outdoor art exhibits, workshops for mothers and their children to create art together, and traditional celebrations that teach about cultural heritage and history.

This year, during Easter holidays, either due to being displaced or having power outages, not every Ukrainian mother has been able to bake a traditional Paska bread for their children that has deep symbolic meaning in our tradition. Art Studio “Veselka” made sure that every kid under our wing had a Paska and a warm community to celebrate Easter.

Our honorable member Roman Bonchuk is developing incredible international collaborations, exhibits, as well as organizing new events at the famous The Museum of Heavenly Hundred Heroes in Ivano-Frankivsk he founded and currently runs. Roman has done amazing work assisting The Colors of Heritage and Our Peaceful Home initiatives. During one of the recent events honoring War Heroes, he also remembered the little ones left behind. He managed a shipment of vitamins and art supplies to Rolana Bondarenko, the head of United Families of Azovstal Heroes, that was distributed to war orphans.

One of the biggest holidays we are currently preparing for is the Children’s Day upcoming in June. Both virtual and onsite events are being organized and will be updated as well.

Our Peaceful Home

“Our Peaceful Home” had a great success among wide range of audiences and provided a fun way for participants to enter the program. We continue sending gifts to the participants to encourage and to support creative learning. The connections we have made in the process with parents and teachers have been both invaluable and reassuring that we are on the right track. We listen to every suggestion from our participants, adjust accordingly, and continue to shape the program to meet and fit their needs.

 We have extended “Our Peaceful Home” as an ongoing enrollment portal for other children, parents, and teachers to join the program. We will continue to serve our community through the educational program The Colors of Heritage.