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News & notes: Singing for Ukraine, 10 Grands, 5 Oaks, Russian art returns home

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Ukrainian artist Maria Prymachenko (1909-1997), “A dove has spread its wings and asks for peace”, 1982. Many of Prymachenko’s paintings were saved by townspeople when Russian troops burned down the Ivankiv History and Local History Museum during the Russian invasion of Ukraine this year.

As UKRAINIANS fight for their lives and many national governments exert financial and diplomatic pressure on the Russian invaders, many groups have come together to raise funds for humanitarian aid. Sunday, April 10 is Voices raised for Ukrainea benefit concert for women’s singer-songwriter organization She’s Speaking.

The 7 p.m. live show at Artichoke Community Music is sold out, but you can watch and hear it, and donate, via the livestream. Your $20 ticket entitles you to performances by singer-songwriters Darka Dusty, Beth Wood, Bre Gregg of Red Bird Soul, Kristen Grainger of True North and Kathryn Claire. Money raised from Artichoke’s performance and live stream will go to Mercy Corps, which has humanitarian aid teams on the ground in Ukraine, Romania and Poland.

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ANOTHER GREAT BENEFIT SHOW – the annual Ten Grands Concert, hosted by pianist Michael Allen Harrison and featuring 10 top pianists – is rushing towards showtime, which will be at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 16 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in downtown Portland. The show benefits Harrison’s Play It Forward music organization, which provides instruments, instruction, and performance opportunities for children “regardless of income, ability, proximity, or other barrier.”

This year’s squad includes Harrison, Tom Grant, Robert O’Hearn, Dr. Andrea Johnson, Colleen Adent, Mac & Hailey Potts, Marc Salman, William Chapman Nyaho and John Nilsen. They will be joined by singer Julianne Johnson, Harrison’s frequent vocal collaborator. You can get tickets here and then settle in for 880 keys of piano music and songs.

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THE NEW FACE AT FIVE OAKS MUSEUM is familiar in Washington County cultural circles. Scott Palmer joined the board of trustees of the Historical and Cultural Museum, which is located on the Portland Community College Rock Creek campus.

Palmer founded Hillsboro’s Bag & Baggage Productions, which sparked a theater renaissance on the West Side, and helped the company move to its permanent home at The Vault in downtown Hillsboro. He left to become executive director of the Sun Valley Museum of Art in Idaho, then the Crested Butte Center for the Arts in Colorado, before returning to Hillsboro.

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Caught in the middle of the UKraine/Russian crisis, as Graham Bowley reports in The New York Times, $46 million worth of artwork from Russian museums has been loaned to museums in Italy and Japan . The artworks were being returned to their original museums when they were stopped at the Finnish border and seized ‘on suspicion of breaching European Union sanctions imposed following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia”.

On Friday, as Bowley reports, the Finnish Foreign Ministry decided that art could cross the border and come home. What will happen in the long term to the collaboration between Russian museums and institutions in other countries is unclear.

The situation reminded me of a June afternoon in 1999 at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, when the situation was reversed: how to get Russian art out of Russia and get it safely to other sites – in this case to the Portland Art Museum, where it would be displayed in an exhibition of art collected over several centuries by members of the Stroganoff family. And not just a piece or two, but 61 boxes from the Hermitage collections.

Vitaly Kalabush, head of fine arts at Khepri, the company that crated and shipped everything out of the Hermitage Museum, explained how it would work.

This is partly what I wrote at the time:

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“Leading the way to a huge carpentry and construction workshop facing an interior square of the Hermitage, it shows crates in the making: Russian birch and pine, sophisticated plastics and other Finnish materials.

“… The crates’ long journey will take them slowly from St. Petersburg to Helsinki, Finland, to Lübeck, Germany, and then to Frankfurt Airport. “In Frankfurt, everything has to be palletized,” says Kalabush. “It takes five, six hours. At least.’ Then on the jumbo jet and, on the fourth day, the long flight to San Francisco. Finally, the night trucks head to Portland. At each stage of the journey, a courier from the Ermitage will be on board.

“And for the first stage, even more: state police guards from inside the courtyard of the Hermitage to the Finnish border. One on the truck, one in a Jeep behind. “Heavily armed,” Kalabush said. ‘Yeah. They are really armed. machine guns.’

“And after reaching the border?

“’They see that everything is fine, they come back.’ If there is a burglary to be done, it will not happen on Russian territory.

Twenty-three years later, all is not well, and the armed officers are not leaving. A massive and violent heist attempt is underway, with machine guns and more. But as traumatic and criminal as it is, it still does not happen on Russian territory.