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LA marks one year of war in Ukraine with art auctions, speeches, protests

This weekend marks a full year since Vladimir Putin’s Russian forces first invaded Ukraine.

On the world stage, Putin is making overtures to China while President Joe Biden circles the wagons with NATO. On the local stage, Los Angeles and other communities will commemorate the milestone with speeches, a protest, a sculpture unveiling and an art auction.

The Ukrainian Culture Center Los Angeles, in partnership with 20 other organizations, is hosting events Friday, Feb. 24 through Sunday, Feb. 26. The events span from marching in the streets to praying in Ukrainian churches. In addition to L.A.-based events, concerts and rallies will unfold in San Diego and San Francisco.

Most of the L.A. events are held at 4315 Melrose Ave. in the historic building shared by Ukrainian Culture Center (UCC) and Ukrainian Art Center (UAC).

The art exhibit and live auction is the fourth such fundraiser Ukrainian Art Center has held, said Daria Chaikovsky, its longtime president. So far, the art center has raised $37,000 for Ukrainian relief efforts, she added.

The war and its aftermath has totally changed her organization from its inward focus as a place for Ukrainians to privately celebrate their culture, to an outward focus. Now, the mission has expanded.

“It is true, the awareness of the tragedy of the war has created an awareness of our country, the culture and the difference between Ukraine and Russia,” Chaikovsky said.

The art center’s goal now, she said, is one of outreach, going beyond just Ukrainians.

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“We are trying to get (Ukrainian) culture and art to the general public in the hopes of one day establishing a Ukrainian museum in Los Angeles,” Chaikovsky said.

A highlight of the weekend, according to organizers, will be the unveiling of a sculpture commissioned by a California-based artist’s coalition titled the Global Peace Initiative. The four-foot sculpture is a smaller version of a 22-foot monument that will eventually be installed in Ukraine.

In addition, throughout the weekend, Los Angeles City Hall will be lit up in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Here are the weekend’s events commemorating the one-year anniversary since the beginning of war in Ukraine:

Friday, Feb. 24

• 9 a.m., Press conference at which leaders of the Southern California Ukrainian Coalition and local politicians discuss next steps in the war effort, UCC/UAC

• 10:15 a.m., Sculpture unveiling, UCC/UAC

• 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Art exhibit and auction, UCC/UAC

• Noon, Mass at Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, Los Angeles

• 3 p.m. Protest, Los Angeles City Hall

• 6 p.m. Remembrance ceremony and opening of 365 Days of War art exhibit, St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Los Angeles

• 6:30 p.m. Concert, House of Ukraine, Balboa Park, San Diego

• 7 p.m., Lenten Liturgy and prayers for deceased, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Los Angeles

Saturday, Feb. 25

• 2 p.m., Rally and march, Balboa Park, San Diego

• 3 p.m., Mass, St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Los Angeles

• 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Freedom Pop-Up exhibit, Helms Design Center, Los Angeles

• 6 p.m., Screening of the Oscar-nominated “Klondike” film, St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Los Angeles

Sunday, Feb. 26

• 10 a.m., Mass at Ukrainian churches, Los Angeles and San Diego

•  1 to 3 p.m., Candlelight vigil and public meeting, UCC/UAC

•  3 to 6 p.m., Art Exhibit and auction, UCC/UAC

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