A painting by Claudia Rosti of Thomaston graces the Strand stage.

Those who attended the “Ukuleles for Ukraine” concert at The Strand Theatre on May 22 saw artist Claudia Rosti’s powerful painting, “Prayers for Ukraine,” displayed on the stage.

The Thomaston resident began making and selling blue and yellow heart-shaped sunflower pins to benefit the children of Ukraine back in March, at the same time State Rep. Vicki Doudera got the idea to host a ukulele fundraiser to aid UNICEF’s humanitarian work in Ukraine. The two joined forces last week when Rosti presented Doudera with a check for $2,000, raised from the sale of her pins, cards, and paintings, pushing the fundraiser’s tally closer to the goal of $10,000.

“Claudia’s kindness in lending us her painting, plus donating the money she’s raised to date is so heartwarming, and I’m very grateful. Thanks to her, those who attended the concert, and others who are continuing to contribute, we are just $2,200 away from our fundraising goal.”

The concert, hosted by The Strand, featured musicians and songwriters David Dodson and Alice Limoges, along with new talents Caeley McVearry and Bella Barnes. Ukulele groups UKES ROCK! and Midcoast Ukes also strummed and sang, as well as a group of ukulele students from Camden-Rockport Elementary School who performed several songs they wrote for Ukraine.

Anne and David Dodson performing at the benefit concert for Ukraine.

“We had wonderful performances and an open-hearted audience who helped us raise close to half our fundraising goal at the event,” said Doudera, noting that the concert was taped and is available to watch at this link. Donations are continuing to come in and can be made here.

“Claudia and I both recognize that children in Ukraine are suffering terribly from a war they had nothing to do with,” said Doudera. “Thanks to our community and beyond, love and good vibes are going across the globe to help them. I just received an unsolicited $100 contribution from the Bailey Ukulele Group from Winthrop, as well as a gift from a legislative colleague from Bowdoinham. This kind of serendipity and generosity tells me we are going to reach our goal and get the full $10,000 to fund UNICEF’s work…from Maine to Ukraine.”
Donations to help with the effort can be made on this special UNICEF fundraising page, or contact Rep. Doudera at 542-1990.