Art and Culture in Ukraine on the Second Anniversary of Russia’s Full-Scale Invasion

(NEW YORK) – Today marks the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. PEN America’s Freedom to Writer Center (FTWC) and Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) remain firmly committed to supporting Ukrainian artists, writers, and other culture professionals. 

“In this war, culture is a primary target, and the destruction of hundreds of places where Ukrainians experience culture and history is key to Putin’s goal of completely destroying Ukrainian identity. By raising awareness of this campaign and documenting the devastation, we hope to play a small role in making sure that these crimes are not forgotten when the time to account arrives,” said Liesl Gerntholtz, PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center director.

Ukrainian artists, through every brushstroke, photograph, and creative concept, serve as guardians of the country’s rich history and culture, guaranteeing the ongoing vibrancy and evolution of Ukrainian art far into the future. Enabling them to continue to create is an act of solidarity and a powerful form of resistance against Putin’s targeted program of cultural erasure,” said Julie Trébault, Artists at Risk Connection director.

In December 2023 the FTWC made a submission to the  Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine into the attacks on Ukrainian cultural infrastructure. The submission referenced PEN America’s report Ukrainian Culture Under Attack: Erasure of Ukrainian Culture in Russia’s War Against Ukraine, which was released a year ago in partnership with PEN Ukraine and remains essential reading for those wishing to understand the destruction on the ground better, as does the short video which accompanied the report.

With generous support from the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and Andy Warhol Foundation, Artists at Risk Connection launched Emergency and Resilience Funds for Ukrainian Visual Artists in  2022. As of January 2024, ARC has awarded 393 emergency grants (for humanitarian expenses) totaling USD 415,359. Additionally, ARC has awarded 57 resilience grants (for smaller projects) totaling USD 66,953. 

Our sister organization, PEN Ukraine, has recorded the deaths of 96 artists in the war (noting that this is likely only a fraction of the total number of deaths). 


About the Artists at Risk Connection

The Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) is a project of PEN America dedicated to assisting imperiled artists and fortifying the networks and organizations that support them. If you or someone you know is an at-risk artist, please contact ARC.


About PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. Learn more at


Contact: Dietlind Lerner, [email protected] 

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