Ukrainian artist in Appleton shows her work at a fundraiser for her war-ravaged home country

An event by Ukrainian expats created to help raise funds for the war-ravaged country
Published: Aug. 20, 2023 at 9:34 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Ukrainian artist Ira Vish came to Appleton in December 2021 with plans to stay for just a couple of months.

When the Ukrainian War broke out in February 2022, her March flights home were canceled, and she was stuck indefinitely.

“She said art was a way for her to retreat to being here, in a new territory, being forced to stay somewhere where you don’t know what your future is,” said Anastasia Reetz, her daughter who translated for Ira for this interview.

On Thursday at Appleton Axe, a local axe-throwing venue, her art will be on display for a fundraiser for Ukraine.

“She wants them to see and hear the stories about Ukraine, not just the Ukraine on a map that’s being destroyed by Russia but Ukrainians that live in Ukraine… about bright and happy people and multinational Ukraine,” Anastasia translated.

Ira’s art will not be for sale, as it is on loan from a museum that already purchased it, but she will be there to talk about the pieces and the meaning behind them.

The event is hosted by the group Appleton Ukrainians and will feature a silent auction plus Appleton Axe is donating 30% of the proceeds.

“I haven’t personally experienced any of that kind of sadness or loss, or catastrophe, so it’s a unique way for us to provide a venue and the entertainment, which is a ton of fun,” said Kyle Van Abel, the owner of Appleton Axe.

The funds raised will mostly go to Chalice of Mercy, a Wisconsin-based non-profit providing emergency aid to Ukraine.

“So, when the founder was already equipped to open up a warehouse, a distribution center, she already had hundreds of volunteers that were poised to help with the war because they had already been helping people since 2007,” said Olga Halaburda Hietpas, the founder of Appleton Ukrainians.

A portion of the proceeds will also go toward the victims of the Maui wildfires.