by: Nancy Kalikow Maxwell
Looking for an unconventional way to help support Ukraine? How about buying a sunflower? Or, to be more specific, an artistic rendering of the bloom that happens to be the official flower of the state of Kansas and country of Ukraine. You’ll have nearly 100 flower-themed works to choose from, thanks to the efforts of local artist of Holly Ann Schenk.
As Schenk explains it, “When the war came out, I felt so helpless.” She asked herself what she could do and decided to ask as many artists as she could find to donate a piece of sunflower art to auction off. The result: “Sunflowers for Ukraine”, an art benefit sponsored by Global Ties KC, (a citizen diplomatic organization), the Prairie Village Arts Council, and the Johnson County Parks and Recreation District.
The entire collection of artwork available for auction can be seen online. All proceeds from “Sunflowers for Ukraine” will go toward providing humanitarian aid to Kyiv’s population and displaced people in Ukraine’s capital. Bids will be accepted from July 9 to August 4.
The exhibit will culminate in a special in-person event at the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse on Friday, August 5 from 5:30-7:00 pm. For $15.00 attendees will be able to enjoy drinks and light appetizers while viewing the artwork and placing final bids. Register HERE.
The 94 pieces included in “Sunflowers for Ukraine” span a variety of techniques, styles, and contexts through a range of colors. The flowers appear as close-ups, landscapes and open fields and are presented through photographs, watercolors, pencil, and acrylics.
Thirty of the works are physically on display at the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse (9100 Nall Ave., Prairie Village, KIS 66207) from July 9 to August 4. This collection includes such works as: Charlie Podrebarac’s watercolor featuring a tree-size sunflower towering above cartoon figures; Jeff Garrison’s digital painting “Collieflower Friends” with a dog wearing a sunflower collar; and Cindy DeGraw’s “Standing Tall” with a sunflower proudly upright above those words.
Additional works can be viewed at Cliff's Taphouse (3044 Gillham Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108) and Centering Souls (5215 NW Crooked Rd, Parkville MO 64152).
With all these sunflowers to choose from, your problem may be deciding which one(s) to buy. Unfortunately, none come with sunflower seeds, but perhaps that will be next.