How can networks of people come together to help artists operating in times of extreme crisis?
At the last Open Meeting, Bozhena Pelenska, Director of Jam Factory Art Center explained the plans of Artists in War and the organisation's need for support. The Jam Factory Art Center was established in 2017 in Lviv, Ukraine and has been doing art projects in Ukraine and across Europe, working with visual arts, theatre and music.
War is traumatic, and under stress of fear of life and the urgent need to meet basic human needs it can be very difficult to think creatively and plan for the long term. We learned that many artists linked to the Art Center are now dispersed and the organisation is in an understandable crisis response mode.
“Our halls and basements have become distribution centers for humanitarian aid and are giving shelter to refugees and civilians from the neighborhood. Individually, the members of our team are volunteers and providing security for our own families and friends. As an art institution, our special concern remains the cultural sector which we consider to be our country’s major soft power.“ source https://jamfactory.ua/
Bozhena shared with us their Artists in War program which is offering bursaries to artists whose employment is affected by the war and are in a position to reflect on it in their creative practise. Over 500 artists have already applied, showing the urgent demand and need for work.
It is human instinct to want to help and from a distance it can be hard to know what to do. You can read more about the program on their website and you can also donate to support the project.
AREA member Leif Persson has already shared in the last newsletter a curated list of recommended Ukrainian films which can be presented publically.
AREA also invited other artists and organisers to ask how we could help. Many ideas were offered and we have taken our guidance from Bozhena and her colleagues because only they know best what is right for the arts and artists in their country right now.
A small working group from AREA have met together with the team from the Jam Factory to talk in more detail. The Jam Factory are now also developing the War Drama Project, a writing commission, and have selected two writers to develop their ideas which they are hopeful of presenting in June.
At the next AREA OPEN MEETING on 10 May we will present the next steps, feedback on the offers given and also present a rough plan as to how we can share the Ukraine stories with a broader audience, growing the seeds that were planted in the first meeting.
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