• Sean Friel

Hammonton Arts Center’s Art for Ukraine fundraiser


Some of the pieces of artwork on display at the Hammonton Arts Center’s Art for Ukraine fundraiser. (THG/Sean Friel. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

The Hammonton Arts Center held a fundraiser for Ukraine on July 8, called Art for Ukraine. This specific gallery featured artwork by artists that were created for the fundraiser, including multiple references to the Ukrainian sunflower. The sunflower, known as the national flower of Ukraine, has become somewhat of a symbol for resistance to the Russian invasion.


The fundraiser was held in the newly acquired Education Center, which is a part of the Hammonton Arts Center located at 10 S. Second St. Along the walls of the Education Center, many different pieces hanged down from the walls, ranging from landscape photos to abstract art. Each piece of art was auctioned off, with a starting price on the wall next to the piece. Guests could then bid higher than the starting price, hoping to get the artwork or piece that caught their eye.


Slavik Aleksandruk and Olga Lyuppa were present at the fundraiser, along with Dan Bachalis and Dave Murphy. Each of these individuals were present during the Rally for Ukraine event on April 30, and were given the opportunity to speak at the fundraiser held in the Education Center.


“I’m one of the ordinary citizens of Hammonton, along with Dave Murphy. We worked with the Hammonton Arts Center and the Art Club here in Hammonton to put on this art auction to benefit Ukraine relief effort. Hopefully in some small way, we’ll make a difference in the lives of the long-suffering Ukrainian people,” Bachalis said at the fundraiser.


“We want to help the people who do not deserve the suffering they’ve been forced to endure,” Murphy said.


Some of the pieces of artwork on display at the Hammonton Arts Center’s Art for Ukraine fundraiser. (THG/Sean Friel. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

Bachalis then thanked Annette Rinker and Don Swenson for all of their help and efforts in setting up the fundraiser, as well as contributing pieces for the event.


“There’s not too much that we feel like we can do, except to express ourselves, so we can donate something that comes from us, and helps to support them financially,” Swenson said.

He continued by saying that even though many of us are far away from Ukraine, it does not mean that we can’t still try to find ways to help.


Alesksandruk was the next to speak at the event, thanking everyone for coming out to support. He went on to explain that he was born in Ukraine, and that it was his home.


“If you can imagine, a one-thousand-pound bomb, dropped in the middle of my street that I used to walk on. The crater is nine feet deep. Nine feet deep… this is the new reality we live in,” Alesksandruk said.


“We call it World War III in Europe,” he said, further showing the intensity of the situation.


Some of the pieces of artwork on display at the Hammonton Arts Center’s Art for Ukraine fundraiser. (THG/Sean Friel. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

After he had finished his speech, Lyuppa gave a short addition to Alesksandruk’s words.


“Thank you so much for being here,” Lyuppa said.


She went on to explain that many other organizations such as AtlantiCare and Shore Medical Center have reached out to provide support, as well as the town of Ocean City. With the support of so many, Lyuppa said that they have had over $1,000 in donations so far.


The total funds raised at the fundraiser were $2,323, which all will be used to help with relief efforts. For more information on the Hammonton Arts Center visit www.hammontonartscenter.org.