The First 100 Days of “Save Ukraine Art 22”, the project to safeguard Ukrainian art

Last April the first truckload of materials left to Lviv, the second one followed in June; now are restorations at start and exhibitions in Italy under evaluation.

In March 2022, from the National Gallery of Arts in Lviv, Save Ukraine Art 22 came into life, when Mr. Lucio Gomiero, manager and university lecturer, took up the call-to-action launched by Mr. Marco Gallipoli, an Italian photographer living in Lviv with his wife Mrs. Ustyna Soroka (lecturer at the institute of art and daughter of the Ukrainian artist) as well as by the Director of the Taras Wozniack Gallery, coordinator of the City Museums network. Together, they initiated and coordinated the project, motivated by the strong belief that, in every conflict, it is of paramount importance to safeguard monuments, works of art, books, and archives which build a country’s cultural heritage: this is the only way to preserve identity for the aim of reconstruction and for the rebirth of the country, that we hope will begin as soon as possible.

The goal of the “start-up” Save Ukraine Art 22 is to collect materials and equipment necessary to conserve works of art as well as to provide the appropriate protection when moving and archiving them. These are packaging materials, wooden crates for handling and transportation, fireproof fabrics, dehumidifiers to control temperature and humidity, image acquisition and filing equipment for the various assets, laptops, everything useful for safeguarding paintings, sculptures, art objects, books, etc. and prevent them from being damaged or dispersed during the conflict. The initiative is based in Lviv (Lviv), whose historical center has been included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and from there expanded further to other cities such as Kharkiv and Kiev.

The current organization
The project creators and project leaders Marco Gallipoli, Ustyna Soroka and Lucio Gomiero started by involving people from different backgrounds into the project, as well as into a Leadership and Guideline Board, that met also physically on May 31 in Venice; among them:

  • Demetrio Paparoni, international art curator, Milan
  • Carlo Bagnoli, professor at Ca’ Foscari and Scientific Director of VENIsia, Venice
  • Alberto Baban, entrepreneur ViceP. UNICEF, former National President of Confindustria PMI, Padua
  • Maria Cristina Gribaudi, President Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia
  • Gabriella Belli, Director Venice City Museums
  • Gabriel Fanelli, General Manager Ceccarelli Group, for the logistic part, Udine
  • Roberto Corciulo, entrepreneur, IC&Partners network in Eastern Europe, Udine
  • Maria Chiara Visentin, entrepreneur, Treviso
  • Filippo Fusi, owner Ars Movendi E.s. logistics, Florence
  • Francesco Palumbo, Director General of Fondazione Toscana, Florence
  • Mario Mantovani, President of ManagerItalia, Bologna
  • Filiberto Zovico, President ItalyPost, Padua
  • Alessandra Morelli, Vice President Restauratori Senza Frontiere Italia, Rome

What we did and the work-in-progress
In the first days of March, in various Ukrainian cities, works of art have been removed and securedwherever it was possible, with makeshift packaging. Among them, there were boxes for the import of a well-known bananas’ brand. These were certainly not the proper materials and equipment able to provide theadequate protection for the preservation and storage of artworks.

What to do, then? The first action was to draw up a list of materials and equipment needed to be collected, which were immediately identified thanks to the prompt advise of the Civic Museums of Venice: packing materials, such as bubble wrap or non-woven fabric, wooden crates for transport, fireproof fabrics, dehumidifiers to maintain temperature and humidity, equipment for image acquisition, laptops to file the various goods.

How to do this? Through donations. SaveUkraineArt22’s operating model involves donations of materials and equipment directly from companies and museum institutions, which are collected at certain hotspots made available free of charge by the logistics operator Ceccarelli Group: Florence, Milan, Padua, Udine and, soon, Rome. Private individuals can also donate “stretches of the way” by contributing to transport costs and shortly also the needed materials for restoration.

Who? Since last Sunday, March 27, on the day the official website http://www.SaveUkraineArt22.org went online just before midnight, many companies, institutions and personalities, not only from the world of art, have decided to make their contributions. Each of the donor companies received a letter of thanks from Director Wozniack (a list follows).

Six Italian regions have been involved in the initiative so far: Veneto, Trentino- Alto Adige, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Tuscany and Basilicata (the letter was the first region to join); communication support was also given by some Universities such as MIP-Politecnico of Milano, IUAV and HUB Strategy Innovation in Venice, and by associations, such as some Business Executives’ associations like ManagerItalia, Cultura Italiae and Impresa Italiae.

Many journalists passionately reported on the project, James Iman, Dario Donato, Desirèe Maida, Vera Mantegoli, through their articles, as well as there were significant reports on television channels such as Rai 3 Nazionale, Rai3 Veneto (TG), Ansa, La 7, TeleFriuli (TG), UdineseTV.

Continuity. The second truck with 90 cu m of aid, which left from Udine, arrived in Lviv at the end of June. It was a less complicated journey than the first load, which, in April, had firstly to arrive in Poland, near the border, and then had to be divided into eight trucks which departed again for Lviv. The materials were distributed to several museum sites managed by director Wozniack, and from here a part of it was destined for museums in Kiev and Kharkiv. This project activity will continue by increasingly selecting the materials and equipment needed and relying on the generosity of enterprises to constitute a third large truck.

The Restorers Without Borders (RSF) association, from Rome, has also joined the project, with the purpose of activating a second front of aid, namely the collection of materials and tools for restoration; the association is engaged in several restoration-working-sites in war zones, and their experience will be invaluable. Restoration materials will be collected from the dealers themselves and from the logistics hubs already existing.

A third front, also in collaboration with RSF, will consist of organizing exhibitions in Italy, hosting art works of Ukrainian artists, with the dual purpose of protecting the works and of promulgate Ukrainian art. Already some operational insights have been carried out in Rome, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, in Venice.

We are also in dialogue with Hope Ukraine, especially with the “Art” section, one of the eight activities that the Foundation has activated in aid of Ukraine. To carry on with the activities becomes more and more important especially now, in a time in which the war is making somewhat “less headlines” but continues to cause damage and pain; we will try to raise companies’ and institutions’ awareness as much as possible; in fact, there are so many valuable materials that could be needed to protect Ukrainian artworks, which actually lie often unused in the warehouses of companies and museums. For the preparation of the third truck, materials are collected from companies; private donations are also possible.

Some References & Contacts

Lucio Gomiero, lucio.gomiero@unive.it, lgomiero@libero.it
Marco Gallipoli, info@marcogallipoli.com, ustyna.s@gmail.com
Project website http://www.saveUkraineArt22.org, also page on Twitter and Linkedin
Book “La parte più buia della notte” by Marco Gallipoli, ed. Rizzoli, which recounts some of the events from 24 February to early May, including the start of the SaveUkraineArt22 project.
Lviv National Gallery of Arts http://lvivgallery.org.ua/museums, dir. Taras Wozniack
National Museum A. Sheptytsk, Lviv, with director Ihor Kozhan

Ustyna Soroka, with materials that arrived in Lviv

We would like to thank for their collaboration in the project to date:

For donations of materials: museums
Venice City Museums
City Museums of Udine
Guggenheim Museum of Venice

For donations of materials: companies
Ars Movendi | E.S. Logistica Srl, Calenzano, Florence*
MS Imballaggi, Loria,
TrevisoBresciani srl, Milan
Dixit SpA, Trento
Ecom Trading, Lugano (CH)
MultiFreight LTD, Pireas (Greece)
G Group srl, Quinto di Treviso
SME-Bergamin Group, Cessalto, Treviso
Marzotto Interiors, Valdagno (VI)
OpenCare Srl, Milan*
Apice srl, Florence*
Artenativa srl, Florence*

*) members of the association Logistica Arte

For logistics and transport:
Ceccarelli Group, Udine, with its branches also in Milan, Florence, Padua and a partner in Rome

For WEB, social, media, administrative services:
Strategy Innovation srl, Venice
Biosline SpA, Padua
Bludata Informatica srl, Treviso
Francesco Fabbri Foundation, Treviso
IC&Partners, Udine

For information and promulgation support, the networks:
ManagerItalia,
Italy Post, Padua
MIP-Politenico, Milan
IUAV University of Venice
Restauratori Senza Frontiere Italia, Rome
RSF Civil Protection Cultural Heritage, Rome
Associazione Cultura Italiae
Associazione Impresa Italiae

Last but not least, a very big thankyou also to the journalists and media who dedicated their time and space in the newspaper to inform about the project: it has been a valuable support and encouragement.

On the website, in the News section, you can find the main reports: articles, posts, TV videos, radio passages.

The second truck left for Lviv

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