Shop Talk: Artists Paint, Draw and Donate for Ukraine

Joanne Furio, Berkeleyside, 1 April 2022

After doom scrolling the news about the invasion of Ukraine on her cell phone, artist Mona Chiang felt so frustrated she reached out to some friends on a group text, including Julie McCray, the owner of SHOH gallery. Chiang wondered what they could do to help.

"What if a bunch of artists came together to do something good?" Chiang said. "Together we can make a greater impact."

A day later they came up with the idea for the SF Bay Area Artists for Ukraine Fundraiser Exhibit, which ran March 9-19 at SHOH's Gilman Street location. (SHOH also has a satellite at 1778 Fourth St.)  Online sales of select works will continue through April 10. 

The original goal was to raise $5,000 for World Central Kitchen, chef Jose Andres' disaster relief organization that is now providing meals to Ukrainian refugees. The exhibition raised $10,000 in a week and then set a new goal of $20,000. As of Monday, more than $17,000 was raised. 

Some of the artwork that can be purchased online through April 10. Credit: Joanne Furio

McCray was surprised by how quickly she heard from artists.

"Artists from all over the Bay Area were bringing in works," she said. "Five days after putting out the word, we had a show."

Instead of the typical 25-30 pieces featured in one of her gallery's three rooms, the call for artwork brought in almost 80 pieces, spanning a variety of media. 

For each sale, 40% to 80% of the price went to World Central Kitchen. 

"I think it hit a chord because we were all feeling very impotent. Being able to do this made all of us feel a lot better," McCray said. "At least we'll help feed some people."