Artist, daughter raise $500 for Ukraine by selling ornaments

  • From left, Christie Shippa and her mother, Susan Mulholland, hold their wooden ornaments and a symbolic check representing their donation to World Central Kitchen. The two sold the ornaments at Hillside Pizza in Bernardston, raising $500. For the Recorder/Liesel Nygard

  • From left, Amy White, Christie Shippa, Susan Mulholland and Craig White with their wooden ornaments and a symbolic check representing their donation to World Central Kitchen. Shippa and Mulholland, who made the ornaments, sold them at Hillside Pizza in Bernardston, which is owned by the Whites. For the Recorder/Liesel Nygard

For the Recorder
Published: 9/27/2022 2:19:08 PM

BERNARDSTON — After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Leverett artist Susan Mulholland, and her daughter, Christie Shippa, devised a plan to help the besieged country, making and selling wooden ornaments for a minimum $5 donation at Hillside Pizza in Bernardston.

One particularly memorable pair of donors, Shippa recalled, made the endeavor feel all the more worthwhile.

“There were these two men who came in, and after their lunch, they came up and told me that they were from Ukraine and that they really loved the gesture that we were doing,” said Shippa, who has been working at Hillside Pizza for almost 10 years. “They bought two (ornaments) and shook our hands and left.”

Each wooden ornament was painted to depict a sunflower, Ukraine’s national flower, on one side and a heart in blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine’s flag, on the back. All proceeds from ornament sales support World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides meals for those impacted by disasters. With Mulholland and Shippa having sold all of the roughly 100 ornaments they created, they raised $500.

Amy White, who owns Hillside Pizza with her husband, Craig, said how important this fundraiser was because it brought awareness of the war in Ukraine and its impact.

“It keeps it in people’s minds and in their hearts,” White commented. “So if nothing else, maybe they pray for Ukraine or for peace, or become more concerned about the suffering of innocent victims of violence, which happens everywhere. So the consequence of doing something like this is immeasurable.”

Mulholland has been an artist since the 1970s. She majored in art at Connecticut College, and sold her art in Mexico, where she lived for a year after graduating and getting married.

“I was selling silkscreen stuff that I printed in our bedroom in Mexico,” she said.

Now in Franklin County, Mulholland has sold her work at local galleries such as Leverett Crafts & Arts and the Sawmill River Arts Gallery, where she’s sold notecards, matted and framed prints, T-shirts and scarves. She also worked at a gallery in Northampton for eight years.

Mulholland has used her artwork to help with other fundraisers, too, such as supporting Dakin Humane Society, as well as offering pieces for silent auctions and donation tables at various New England shows, where she will give a silk scarf or T-shirt. Her main interest now is painting.

“I’ve started doing pet portraits,” she added.

Shippa, drawing inspiration from her mother, used to raise money for the 4-H club by selling her own paintings.

“I would like to do some more art,” Shippa noted, “and I think when my kids are a little bit bigger, it’ll be easier to do more.”

Near the holidays, White said Hillside Pizza might host an artists’ challenge, which would include art from Mulholland, Shippa and other local artists, to help raise money for a cause of their choice.

“We’re gonna keep going, project after project after project,” Shippa said. “Even if it’s not Ukraine (that we’re supporting), I’m more than happy to do art.”


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