A folding party was held at the Berea Arts Council on Thursday evening to create origami doves and raise funds for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian onslaught on their country.
Ana Maria Selvaggio is an artist, author, designer, illustrator, educator and local from Berea.
In an effort to support victims of war in Eastern Europe, she created Doves for Peace – an initiative to create folded paper doves with prayers or inspirational messages written in them to send to Ukrainian refugees. She also raises funds through the sale of stickers.
“It’s inspired or based on the Japanese legend that if you bend a thousand cranes, you’ll make a wish come true. I’m not financially able to support any of the charities supporting Ukraine at the moment, so I thought I should use my skills and I thought of folding doves, because doves mean peace,” Selvaggio said. “So our wish for peace is to fold 1,000 or more doves and send them through the through charities to refugees and also to raise awareness. I designed the stickers and 100% of the proceeds from the stickers will go to returning Peace Corps Volunteers and allies. for Ukraine (RPCV) and World Central Kitchens.”
RPCV is mobilizing to provide assistance to Ukraine and its people and raise funds for first aid kits, while World Central Kitchens is currently serving meals to refugees. In addition to the stickers, Selvaggio also designed a seal for the Doves of Peace.
“I actually created a seal, which is a prayer. Each folded prayer is said for the protection and safety of the Ukrainian people and their loved ones. May peace, love and kindness prevail. All of this is translated via numerology,” Selvaggio said.
Selvaggio helped participants fold the doves on Friday. Selvaggio said many other people outside of Berea were also working on creating doves. Folded doves are created when small sheets of paper are given four different styles of folds. In addition to teaching people how to fold the doves in person, Selvaggio also created a step-by-step printed guide on how to make the origami creations. It can be downloaded from the Selvaggio website at https://renmeleon.com/dovesforukraine.
The artist said the crisis in Ukraine was personal for her, as she has many ties to the country.
“My main goal in doing this is that I always have the opportunity to donate art even when I cannot financially support something. To have the ability to do positive action as a disabled person – I am disabled permanently and it’s my way of being able to support good in the world my daughter is growing up in,” Selvaggio said. “I really hate this overseas situation. I met people from Ukraine and I know people locally who are from Ukraine or have families in Ukraine. There are artists online that I buy from or have followed on social media for years that are from Ukraine. I felt close to home, because I know people.
Joy Gritton is a Berea resident who has been involved in art projects in the community – such as the crochet Christmas tree that was erected on Chestnut Street over the past holiday. She participated in Doves for Peace and explained what attracted her to this initiative.
“I’m very interested in how the arts can support the community. I was very interested in this project because it’s an artist trying to support the community that’s on the other side of the world. We’re looking at the things that come into play. our personal space and we see it on the news and we want to help,” Gritton said. “I wanted to get out there and be with other people who like to do things. It’s always a plus to be surrounded by people who do and do something, no matter how big or small.”
To support Doves of Peace, visit https://renmeleon.com/dovesforukraine.