“Fight With Art” Exhibition Series and Online Auction to Raise Funds

 Supporting Artists and Organizations Providing Relief Efforts to Ukraine

Kraków – (August 10, 2022) – Artists in Ukraine have decided to fight back—and they are using their artwork as ammunition. Two members of FestivALT, a Krakow-based Jewish Arts and Activism organization, Canadian born Michael Rubenfeld and California native James Arellano joined the fight in the first days of the war by creating a powerful exhibition series “Fight with Art”. Exhibited in FestivALT’s gallery, located just a few hours’ drive from the Ukrainian border, FestivALT became the first organization in Poland to show original Ukrainian work from a country devoured by war. Working in partnership with a host of Ukrainian artists, Polish and Ukrainian NGOs, art curators based in Poland and volunteers in Ukraine; the two friends led a daring endeavor to recruit top artists to join the series. They then led the monumental task of transporting major art pieces from all regions of Ukraine, at the height of hostilities in the spring and early summer, safely to Krakow. Despite the odds, the operation was a success. The artwork is now available at www.fightwithart.com, a global online auction. All participating artists will be paid a commission, and the majority of the profits will go to charities supporting Ukrainians on the front lines, disabled people in Ukraine, Ukrainian refugees in Poland and displaced animals.

“The realities being faced by Ukrainians daily, on the ground, are horrific, and we are personally in touch with artists across the country who have been displaced and are worried about preserving their work, as well as –of course– their own lives,” said Rubenfeld. “Our mission is to support Ukrainian artists by leveraging our relationships and helping transport their artwork to Krakow to share it with the world in a way that elevates the work itself, while supporting the artists who are in a time of crisis.”

“By showcasing art and culture when violence has dominated the news, these exhibitions and now global auction will give a voice to Ukrainian artists during a time when they feel voiceless,” added Arellano. “Fight With Art will also allow us to provide desperately needed funds to the artists for their work while raising money for additional causes assisting with war relief efforts.”

The auction includes paintings and signed prints by renowned Ukrainian artists with bidding prices starting at $100. The war that now engulfs Ukraine forced many artists to put away their pencils and paintbrushes and reach for real weapons. One of them is street art artist Dima Fatum, whose illustrations, many created in heavily bombed Kharkiv, have become symbols of defiance. Young talents like Zhenya Machkovska of Dniepro and two of the finest painters from the Carpathian Mountains, Oksana Dovganich and Nata Levitasova, transported  their most cherished works great distances to Lviv to join the auction. Olena Kayinska, of Lviv, has seen her successful art career take a strange path as a project manager with Doctors Without Borders since the beginning of the war; several of her works are included in the auction. Vladyslav Riaboshtan, a superbly talented young painter returned to his workshop in Kyiv to retrieve paintings to contribute to the cause. Brilliant established artists such as Andrii Bludov, Olga Morozova, Anna Kostenko, Olga Petrova, Alena Tolkacheva, Olesia Tkachenko and Vladyslav Sheryshevsky from Kyiv that grew up in the former Soviet Union and experienced a free Ukraine, are now horrified by the war that engulfs their beloved homeland have joined in force. More of the participating artists’ names and stories will be told as the auction unfolds.

“Now is the time to find our strength and persistence and show to the rest of the world that we will fight with real courage and true Ukrainian spirit. To demonstrate this, we have two major weapons. The first is our people—the second is our art. Art is a powerful source where we can find inspiration to fight, and through which we can demonstrate who we really are. I am honored to participate in this auction, to be able to speak to the world the language I know the best—the language of creation, of life, of art,” said participating artist Olena Kayinska. 

For more information and to place your bids, visit www.fightwithart.com.

Media Note: Interviews are available upon request with Michael Rubenfeld and James Arellano. Interviews with the artists are available as well.

About FestivALT

FestivALT, is a Krakow-based Jewish Arts and Activist organization, operating year-round out of their office and gallery space in the former Krakow Ghetto. As an organization located next door to Ukraine, when the war erupted, they witnessed the hundreds of thousands of refugees pouring through Krakow and they felt an immediate responsibility to shift their operations to support Ukraine and Ukrainian people. They have since presented five exhibitions of Ukrainian artists. FestivALT also coordinates an innovative long-term program to support Ukrainian Senior War Refugees as they adjust to their new lives in Krakow. The Ukrainian Seniors Program is supported by the Sean Penn founded CORE Response based out of Los Angeles, California. FestivALT is co-directed by Magda Rubenfeld Koralewska and Michael Rubenfeld.                                                               


Media Contact:

Cathy Angel, Hemsworth Communications

863-698-2145 or [email protected]