PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser raises $75,000

What is Oresta Corbutiak, owner of an eponymous organic skincare boutique, knows how to organize fundraising events? Nothing, but her and her little sister, Laryssa Korbutiakwith their childhood friend Larysa Rozumnafelt compelled to do something to help the beleaguered people of Ukraine.

“We were trying to make sense of what was going on and we felt really devastated,” Oresta, a first-generation Canadian of Ukrainian descent, told OBJ.social. “We thought, ‘What can we do?’ ”

The sold-out crowd of over 200 people were introduced to Ukrainian culture through traditional folk art, dance and music. They had the opportunity to bid on dozens of silent auction items, including an oil landscape of Ukrainian farmers working in a field of golden wheat. It was made by a well known artist from Ottawa Christopher Griffin, who years ago spent time visiting Ukraine. His painting sold for $15,000 at Chrystia Mycyk and mike kolbergwho were happy to support the cause.

From left, Oresta Korbutiak, Larysa Rozumna and Laryssa Korbutiak hosted the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held on Monday, April 25, 2022 at Allsaints Event Space in Sandy Hill. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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This oil landscape by Ottawa artist Christopher Griffin sold for $15,000 in support of the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held at Allsaints Event Space in Sandy Hill on Monday April 25, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Carissa Klopoushak, violinist with the National Arts Center Orchestra and artistic director of the Ottawa Chamberfest, gave a breathtaking performance, combining folk music and singing. She grew up in the prairie town of Saskatoon.

The evening program opened with the national anthem of Ukraine, sung by By Replansky, and a folk dance by the Svitanok Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. There were also live demonstrations on how to make a pysanka, arguably one of Ukraine’s most famous Easter traditions. Fans returned home that evening with a traditional Ukrainian Easter basket containing a homemade pysanka.

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Carissa Klopoushak, National Arts Center Orchestra violinist and Ottawa Chamberfest Artistic Director, performed at the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held on Monday, April 25, 2022 at Allsaints Event Space at Sandy Hill. Photo by Caroline Phillips

It was Kelly Mounce, an Allsaints investor, who learned that Oresta was co-hosting a fundraiser to help Ukraine. She was able to offer the place. In fact, many people have come forward and expressed their desire to help and contribute, said Winnipeg native Oresta.

“What was really beautiful was that people came to us,” said Oresta, owner and founder of ORESTA Clean Beauty Simplified and its stores in the Glebe and on Beechwood Avenue. His sister, Laryssa, owns the ORESTA location on Wellington Street West. “People have been incredibly generous.”

Oresta ended up buying the yellow bike created by Retro-Rides.ca on Sparks Street and donated specifically to the silent auction. There was also a dinner for six at the Riviera, tickets to the NAC and the next Sting concert, among other items to be won.

Business leaders seen supporting the benefit included Catherine Tremblayco-founder and CEO of Altis Recruitment and ExcelHR, owner of Terlin Construction Terry McLaughlinand Sheila Whyte, owner of the Thyme & Again take-out food store and catering business. “How can you not, with the state of what’s going on?” Whyte told OBJ.social at the event.

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From left, Kelly Mounce with Janice Nicholson, VP of Digital at Bluesky Strategy Group, at the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held on Monday, April 25, 2022 at Allsaints Event Space in Sandy Hill . Photo by Caroline Phillips
Stacey Beumer, Blostein-Beumer Investment Group at CIBC Wood Gundy, with Ewa Johnson, Partner Operations Coordinator at Shopify, at the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held on Monday, April 25, 2022 at Allsaints Event Space at Sandy Hill. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Terry McLaughlin, President of Terlin Construction, seen with Denise Carruthers at the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held on Monday, April 25, 2022, at Allsaints Event Space in Sandy Hill. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Ameera Girgis and Maryna Skobal of Altis Recruitment with Kathryn Tremblay, co-founder and CEO of Altis Recruitment and Excel HR, at the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held on Monday, April 25 2022, at Allsaints Event Space at Sandy Hill. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Jamie Vince and Virginia Vince of Bloomfields Flowers with RBC branch manager Brian Muzyka (husband of co-organizer Laryssa Korbutiak) and their daughter, Lukia, 14, as well as Sheila Whyte, owner of Thyme & Again, with his son, Adam Kennedy, at the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held on Monday, April 25, 2022 at Allsaints Event Space in Sandy Hill. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Ottawa artist Christopher Griffin with Linebox Studio co-founder and COO Melissa Reeves and Jennifer MacKinnonfounder and CEO of Fenix Solutions, at the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held on Monday, April 25, 2022 at the Allsaints event space in Sandy Hill. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The powerful video montage released that night of the assaults on Ukraine and its people has raised goosebumps and pulled at the heartstrings. The crowd also listened to a special video address from Rozumna’s brother, Istan Rozumny, director and actor who lives and works in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Rozumny said: “I had close friends killed. I had close friends whose homes were destroyed, their livelihoods destroyed. But I did what I could to help Ukraine’s cause.

Rozumny, who was born and raised in Winnipeg, also talked about visiting mass graves in Bucha. “It’s a show I will never forget. It will stay with me for the rest of my life; see the bodies of tortured civilians piled up.

He urged the crowd to continue to pressure the Canadian government to provide humanitarian and military aid. “We have to stop this war,” said Rozumny, who – in an emotional moment – reassured her mother that she was safe knowing she would be in the audience at Allsaints that night.

The community support has been heartwarming, Oresta told OBJ.social. “That’s being a citizen of the world. It is humanity. It’s kindness. Sometimes when the world is bad it’s so easy to get caught up and think everyone is bad, but no, goodness wins out and kindness wins out.

The evening ended on a high note as the crowd sang John Lennon’s peace anthem, Imagine, under the direction of Klopoushak on guitar.

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From left, Lorena Moya and Evelien Kruizinga sing John Lennon’s Imagine at the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held on Monday, April 25, 2022 at Allsaints Event Space in Sandy Hill. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Over 200 people attended the PYSANKA: To Ukraine With Love fundraiser held on Monday, April 25, 2022 at Allsaints Event Space in Sandy Hill. Photo by Caroline Phillips

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