T h e U k r a i n i a n M u s e u m
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Government of Ukraine Extends Offer of Support to The Ukrainian Museum in New York City
The welfare and the development of The Ukrainian Museum in New York City has drawn enthusiastic interest and promise of support from the government of Ukraine, especially with reference to the Museum's work in its new building. Ambassador Valeriy Kuchinsky, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations offered his assistance and that of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations, as did the Consul General of Ukraine in New York City, Serhiy Pohorel'tsev, to help with the Museum's future projects that promote involvement with museums and the arts community in Ukraine.
These suggestions of cooperation were brought to the table during a special visit to the Museum last week by the Ambassador and the Consul General, who were accompanied by the Ambassador's wife Alla Kuchinsky, and the Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission, Danylo Lubkivsky. The request for this unprecedented meeting with the Museum's Board of Trustees and members of the Administration came from the offices of the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations.
At the meeting the Museum was represented by Olha Hnateyko, President of the Board of Trustees, Maria Shust, Director of the Museum, members of the Executive Board and the Board. Also present were George Sawicki, architect of the Museum's new building, and representatives of the Ukrainian press.
Speaking to an attentive audience, Ambassador Kuchinsky said that it was important for the Ukrainian diplomats posted in New York City to develop a working relationship with the Museum. As an example, he cited that they can be instrumental in facilitating the loan process for exhibitions from museums in Ukraine and assist, through The Ukrainian Museum, with helping young artists from Ukraine to explore and take advantage of career building opportunities in the United States.
The Ambassador emphasized that Ukrainian diplomats will treat the cooperative projects with the Museum as matters of great importance. He said: "Our meeting today reflects not only our concern. It is a testimony of our readiness to help the Museum staff in any way possible. For each Ukrainian heart there can be no choice whether to support or not to support the Museum, for it is through this sanctuary of Ukrainian presence in the United States that our nation speaks to the world."
The Ambassador also made references to a speech by the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anatoliy Zlenko, on his visit in the United States, in November 2001. In the speech the Minister first voiced the new policy of the Ukrainian government's outreach with cooperative efforts and support by its diplomatic core to Ukrainian organizations and institution in American cities, where its national interests are represented.
The Consul General of Ukraine, Serhiy Pohorel'tsev also addressed the Museum group, concurring with the Ambassador's assurance that this project of cooperation is of vital concern to the Ukrainian government, and pledged the support of the Ukrainian Consulate as well.
Board President O. Hnateyko spoke about the Museum, concentrating specifically on the building project and the history of its funding. She attributed the success of the project to the overwhelming generosity of the Ukrainian community, among which is the $500,000 gift from Self Reliance NY Federal Credit Union. She also stressed the importance of the donations from Eugene and Daymel Shklar $2.5 million to the Building Fund and a $1 million Challenge Grant, for not only giving the project a new jump-start, but enabling the Museum to begin construction.
Director M. Shust provided information concerning the exhibitions that are currently in the planning stages, destined for the inaugural opening of the new building. The agenda for the momentous event will feature an exhibit of the monumental works of Alexander Archipenko, an exhibit dealing with symbolism in Ukrainian folk art, and one presenting the input of the Ukrainian immigrants into the cultural life of America.
During the meeting several aspects of the Museum's work were touched upon by the participants and particularly by the Second Secretary, Danylo Lubkivsky. He brought attention to the importance of being aware of how Ukraine or Ukrainian subject matter is presented in American museums and cultural publications in the United States and to respond accordingly. It was agreed that addressing the issues in unison the Museum and the resources of the offices of the Ukrainian Mission and Consulate, would be most effective in this endeavor.
The importance of traveling exhibitions was also stressed. Museum Director M. Shust explained that since its founding, the Museum has maintained an active traveling exhibition program. The most traveled exhibit "The Lost Architecture of Kyiv" has been viewed in over twenty cities in the United States and Canada. The exhibit on the Ukrainian immigration in the United States has been on tour in Ukraine for the past three years.
The Ambassador presented a gift to the Museum an album "Ukrainian Avant-Garde Art, 1910-1930s" published in Kyiv in 1996. In the inscription, the Ambassador expressed the wish that most of the works included in the book should find their place in museums in Ukraine, and in particular, in The Ukrainian Museum in New York City.
Following the table discussion and a short break for refreshments, everyone headed for the site of the new Museum building of East 6th Street. Here, guided by the job foreman from the construction firm DiGiacomo & Son, the diplomats, Board members and the press were invited to view the interior of the building. The construction is currently in the stage where underpinning of the foundations of the adjoining buildings is in progress.
The participants voiced their agreement that the proposed cooperation between the representatives of the Ukrainian government in New York City and the Ukrainian Museum will definitely result in greater success for the institution in its new facility. "We thank our distinguished guests for their unequivocal interest in the work of the Ukrainian Museum," said Board President O. Hnateyko, "and we especially value the offer of the Ukrainian government to provide definitive support of the projected exhibitions and programs in the new museum facility."
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