A wish for peace: East Texas artists dedicate art to Ukrainian refugees

“They are not blind to what is going on in the world and want to do something, and this is doing something.”
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Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A wish for peace is the title and theme of the Tyler Art School’s latest project.

The East Texas artists are sending a message of hope to Ukrainian refugees through artwork that is made of sunflowers, Ukraine’s flag, and messages of peace.

Linda Wheat, the director of Tyler Art School, said the goal is to send a message of hope to the Ukrainian refugees.

“Since we have a sister city in Poland, we thought that maybe we can use that connection,” Wheat said.

The school shared a video of the artwork the students created with the city of Tyler’s sister city in Poland, Jelenia Góra.

The project includes artwork by 50 students, ages 7 to 16. Wheat said the students had creative freedom, but the pieces started with a sunflower, which some students saw as prayers.

“Look, I’ve made 14 prayers,” Wheat said the students said about the sunflowers. “It’s so dear coming from them; they’re wise.”

Wheat said some students prayed for Ukraine while painting.

“They are not blind to what is going on in the world and want to do something, and this is doing something,” Wheat said.

Student Gabe Smith painted a message of peace.

“I made a bear holding a heart that says, ‘Stop the war’ because I want the war between Ukraine and Russia to stop so that no one will suffer anymore,” Smith said.

Knowing refugees will see the artwork, Smith said, “It makes them happy, and them being happy makes me happy.”

The artwork will be displayed at the Tyler Rose Garden Center until mid-August.

“This is what you dream of as a teacher, to have meaningful art coming from your students,” Wheat said.

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