Photo: Mike Krautter for Citizens

Today, Citizens hosted a sidewalk neighborhood art event at its Little Ukraine-East Village branch location, where locals participated in the creation of a large-scale art piece, wrote personal messages of support to Ukrainians abroad, and were able to contribute to Citizens’ partner, World Central Kitchen

Citizens is a national-level supporter of World Central Kitchen, which provides local, on the ground support for relief efforts around the world and has been on-site in Ukraine since last year.

The February 25th event raised funds for World Central Kitchen to directly aid Ukrainians impacted by the war, and also further united the local Little Ukraine community through the gift of art and through community-led activities. 

Citizens collaborated with Ukrainian-born, New York-based artist Misha Tyutyunik to create a canvas with members of the neighborhood, to be donated to landmark local business Veselka—a Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village that has become a hub of community-led relief efforts in the past year.

Citizens also began collecting postcards with messages of support from New Yorkers to be sent to Ukrainians displaced by the war. The postcards feature the mural Citizens installed in Little Ukraine in 2022, and were available at the event and will continue to be available for the next month at the Citizens branch in the East Village. New Yorkers can fill them out with their own messages of hope, resilience, and love, “From Little Ukraine to Ukraine.” The aim is to collect 365 postcards to mark each day of the war.

The art donated to and installed at Veselka is created by Ukrainian-born Brooklyn based artist Misha Tyutyunik, and titled “VECHIRNIY KYIV 2023” (translation: “An Evening in KYIV 2023”).  

A view into an evening with Ukrainian people, showing their bravery and resilience, illustrated through a window. This is our view of a family around a table sharing food and drink by candlelight—a symbol of their resistance. Several parts of Ukraine no longer have access to electricity, yet they persist. We see Ukrainians continue to persevere against the adversity of war. 

Last year, Citizens commissioned a mural the design for which Misha Tyutyunik created in collaboration with the people of Kyiv. The 2022 mural, titled “UKRAINE: A HISTORY IN SOLIDARITY” was meant as both a gift from Citizens to the surrounding neighborhood, and as a show of the community’s support for those affected by the ongoing conflict. Local school children helped to install the mural in the Little Ukraine neighborhood, where it still stands today, having become a fixture of the local landscape.

“Citizens is honored to continue building upon the community-based work it began last year, and to unite New Yorkers and Ukrainians, two groups defined by their resilience and resolve. The mural we installed last year was intended to provide a space for community gathering, solidarity, and hope—to honor the indomitable spirit of Ukraine,” said Nuno Dos Santo, Retail Banking Director at Citizens. “We have been overwhelmed by the response. This is a true testament to the community—the mural has become part of the spirit of Little Ukraine.” 

Photo: Mike Krautter for Citizens