By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
The artwork on display at the Boone County Museum of Natural History had great meaning to the children of Brovary and can have great meaning to the people who visit the exhibit.

This month the Boone County Museum of History is displaying artwork with connections between the Ukraine and this area. Children’s artwork and letters from officials punctuating the effect the art had on the children in Ukraine are on view for all visitors to the museum.  A sign at the door to the gallery states, The Boone County Arts Council (BCAC) and Boone County Museum of History present “student Art from Brovary, Ukraine”

“In October, 1990, the BCAC voted to support a venture, initiated by Kit Scheidhelm and Kathy Colwell at Belvidere High School, to send artwork to children hospitalized as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Swedish American Hospital had adopted Children’s Hospital 7 near Kyiv (Brovary), and reports from Russian representatives prompted the teachers’ idea.

As a result, Belvidere students used their art skills to create drawings for the Kyiv/Brovary hospital, which was still a part of the USSR at the time. Completed artwork was delivered to hospitalized children. In response, students in Kyiv/Brovary wrote letters and created the artwork here as a way to say ‘thank you.’

“As in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, the children of Brovary, today, are in dire need of aid. Hospital supplies, medicines, food, and basic human needs are lacking, and consequently, the organization “Kids Around the World” in Rockford has embarked on a campaign to help the children and families in Brovary. We ask that you please consider joining in the effort and make a donation to this worthy cause. Donations can be made through their website at”

One of the letters on view says, “Kiev, Ukraine, Kids to Kids

“Last year in America in Chicago appeared the first display of Ukrainian national art. School children from the city of Rockford became acquainted with the display, and the city school as a group agreed to hand over to the Ukraine, in particular the Children of Chernobyl, their drawings. This is the first step to peaceful ties between the people. In front of us are several drawings from American children taken from the display which not too long ago appeared in Kiev. This display appeared with the unified help of Skif (the Ukrainian artists’ group which held the art show in Chicago in December) and the newspaper office of the journal ‘Memories of the Ukraine.’

“Recently, the Ukrainian republic opened up to a question about Chernobyl – how to be caring with those who suffer, who live on filthy territory, hoping to relocate those people to prevent trouble. Yet to make this a reality would cost a tremendous amount of money. In the meantime, the Chernobyl situation is terrible. A cover was placed over the ruined reactor which had turned almost entirely powder-like and the smallest earthquake, tremor, or even the passage of time might end in an explosion. The holes in the reactor leak water. How many times have scholars tried to fix the reactor so that it could be renewed. The reactor, in the meantime, suffocated. This is the truth that people should know.

“Not too long ago in our school we had a folklore holiday. We brought old artifacts and organized a display. On display were little houses covered with straw, a little well, cups with poppies on them, towels and a shirt bazaar. The 6A class held an open discussion about the Cossacks and other Ukrainian customs that the people need. The students sand songs about the Kalina, the symbol of Ukraine. At some time, our school’s Ukrainian spirit has been reborn and it might last forever if people had more faith or hope.”

Other letters are on display along with numerous pieces of artwork in color or in black-and-white. Anyone who is aware of even a small part of what is currently happening in Ukraine may wish to visit this display while it is on view.

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