McLean Teacher Turns To Art To Support Ukraine

MCLEAN, VA — During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pamela Saunders has used art as a way to keep children engaged during virtual learning. Now she can use her platform as a way to show support for Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

When Saunders heard the news about Russia invading Ukraine, she and others in an artists group were discussing ways they can help.

"I started thinking about how I can help. The way I can help is to teach art," Saunders told Patch.

On Saturday, Saunders will host a virtual art class to benefit Sunflower of Peace, which is providing urgent medical and humanitarian relief to the Ukrainian people. The class is geared toward children ages 5 to 10 and is available through Zoom with a minimum $10 donation. The class starts at 8 a.m. and runs about 40 to 60 minutes. All proceeds will be provided to Sunflowers of Peace.

During the class, children will use watercolors, markers and crayons to paint a sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine. The colors of the yellow sunflower and blue sky also match the Ukrainian flag. Children will be encouraged to hang up their paintings in the windows to show solidarity for Ukraine.

"It's such a symbol of solidarity," said Saunders. "That's kind of what we're hoping for...solidarity and empathy and community."

Saunders won't be discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but she says it will open up the chance for children to have conversations with their parents. She believes art can help children process their emotions about images or news they have seen about Ukraine.

"I know that they're hearing about it, and I think it's a great way for children to process the information," said Saunders.

Saunders, known by her students as Miss Pam, holds regular virtual and in-person art classes for children. She is the in-school art specialist two days a week at Brooksfield School, teaches at Chesterbrook Elementary School after-school art club two days a week, teaches at the Redeemer Renaissance After-School Program art club once a week, and virtual classes once a week. Art class subscription memberships are also available for students.

For more information about her classes, visit Sign up for the Ukrainian fundraiser class here.

This article originally appeared on the McLean Patch