After already raising $222,000 for the children of Ukraine through three very successful online auctions of Ukrainian youth artwork, the International Owl Center in Houston, Minn., has planned the next auction to take place June 22-26.
Over the past 20 years the International Festival of Owls has hosted a children’s owl art contest which thousands of owl drawings, watercolors and pastels are submitted from all over the world. In the past four years the center has received over 2,000 entries from 35-50 countries annually. And since it is logistically impossible to return the artwork to the students, the center has amassed an enormous amount of art in storage. By entering the contest, artists agree that their entries become the property of the Owl Center and may be used in fundraising.
When war broke out in Ukraine, the Owl Center was in a unique position to help, having several pieces of art on-hand previously submitted from young Ukrainian artists. “We shared some images of the owl artwork created by children from Ukraine on our social media and in our e-newsletter, stating that we hoped the young artists were safe,” said Karla Bloem, International Owl Center Founder/Executive Director. “We received a strong response from people who were so moved by the art, and many asked if they could purchase it.” 
Bloem, along with volunteers and staff then went into the archives and pulled out more than 300 pieces of Ukrainian art. The center partnered with the Houston Area Community Foundation and volunteer Jayne Overstreet to host a series of five online auctions of the owl artwork created by Ukrainian children, with all proceeds going to UNICEF to help the children of Ukraine.
“It seemed like the perfect opportunity to hold a fundraiser to support the kids, using their own artwork, and thus far we have hosted three overwhelmingly successful auctions that have left me speechless,” Bloem said. The last two auctions are scheduled for June 22-26 and Aug. 10-14.
Several notable pieces have raised considerable funds, including “The Snowy Owl” by 14-year-old Sofia Burevich which sold for over $8,000. 
While not everyone can afford the prices that the artwork brings on auction, there are 3-4 limited-edition prints that sell for $100 in each of the auctions. The Owl Center also created a set of 20 blank greeting cards featuring Ukrainian artwork, selling them in-house and online for $15.95. The first 200 sets sold out in one week, but a second run of cards will go on sale in conjunction with International Owl Awareness Day in early August. 
For more information go to www.internationalowlcenter.org/ukrainianart.