The City of Espoo’s Cultural Services organised weekly, free of charge art workshops for Ukrainian and Finnish families in different parts of Espoo in the autumn of 2022 and spring of 2023, said the city in a press release on Monday.
The workshops are part of the Taidetoimintaa pakolaisperheille (Art for Refugee Families project), which is coordinated by the Association of Finnish Children's Cultural Centers.
With the total of 21 art workshops focusing on different forms of art, Ukrainian and Finnish children and their parents had the opportunity to take part in creative activities, such as dance, circus activities, visual arts and crafts.
The art workshops were carried out under the instruction of Finnish and Ukrainian artists and art teachers who also enabled participants to find ways to express their emotions, ideas and wishes through art.
The aim of the workshops was to offer a break from everyday life and a place to meet other families as well as to provide an outlet for processing emotions.
The workshops were organised at the schools in Espoo that offer basic education in the arts, at the Helinä Rautavaara Ethnographic Museum and at the Nihtisilta reception centre, and they allowed the participants to familiarise themselves with the opportunities of cultural hobbies and the cultural offerings in Espoo.
The workshops were also a means for Ukrainians and artists of Ukrainian background to find work opportunities and contacts with prospective employers.
“The families and children that attended the workshops were happy to have had the opportunity to spend time together doing fun activities and to have learnt about the cultural offerings in Espoo. A few of the children found new hobbies through the workshops. Furthermore, eight Ukrainian artists found employment and some of them were given regular work opportunities in teaching. Overall, the project indicates that there is a need for similar open and easily accessible activities,” said Sofiia Yakovyshyna, a Ukrainian artist and project manager who was one of the coordinators of the project.
With the encouragement gained from these good experiences, the project is planned to continue in the coming autumn if funding is secured.
The Art for Refugee Families project coordinated by the Association of Finnish Children's Culture Centres is funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. Children’s Cultural Centre Aurora has also organised activities for Ukrainian families in Espoo as a collaborator in the project.