Artist Hedwig Heerschop (left), with friend and fellow artist Ann Ostermann, shows off her photograph etching that was raffled off for $1,000 to benefit UNICEF relief in Ukraine. —Johanna Miller/The Pajaronian

APTOS—Local artist and Pajaro Valley Arts exhibit coordinator Hedwig Heerschop recently raised $1,000 during the Open Studios Art Tour for children in Ukraine.

Heerschop, a fine art photographer and printmaker, raffled off one of her photograph etchings, depicting a blue and yellow sunflower. She sold $5 tickets during the tour, which was held the first three weekends in October.

“I had already done a sunflower series,” she said. “Then I found out that the sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine. And that the national colors are blue and yellow. I got to work on a new print from the etching right away.”

The money will be donated to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), which provides humanitarian and development aid to children worldwide. UNICEF’s “For Ukraine’s Children, Invisible Scars of War” campaign, which reaches children traumatized by the war in Ukraine with essential mental health and psychosocial services.

Heerschop said she has donated individually to support children in Syria and Iraq, and to organizations that help kids with special needs. But Open Studios opened the door to do even more.

“We had $860 on Sunday, and then my assistant gave another $40,” she said. “Then I just threw in another $100 to make it $1,000. Alone, I can only do so much, but now with this whole group, we can raise so much more.”

On Tuesday, friend and fellow artist Ann Ostermann stopped by Heerschop’s Aptos studio to hand select the winning raffle ticket. Local printmaker Mary Neater was selected to take home the piece.

“I want to express my gratitude and thanks to all who participated,” Heerschop said.

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Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.



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