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Community supports Ukrainian chalk artist during Maple Grove event

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. – While dozens of artists lined the street for Arbor Lakes Chalkfest, Tetiana Talanova's story behind her art might have been the most compelling.

Hailing from Kyiv, Talanova and her husband Alex Maksiov have been fixtures of the Maple Grove event nearly every year of its existence. When the war began in Ukraine, Talanova was able to leave for Berlin. Maksiov, however, is still in Kyiv unable to leave.

"Things happening in Ukraine are really tough for our country right now, it's kind of broken," Talanova said. "I was praying that it couldn't happen, but deep inside I was prepared for this."


Still, Talanova said her appearance and art at Chalkfest was a priority -- a chance to do the thing she loves.

"It's something I've been doing since childhood. Just a part of me, I'm always drawing something," she said.

While Maksiov couldn't attend Chalkfest in person, a team of artists worked to bring one of his original designs to life – directly next to Talanova's. In addition to raising money for the couple through tips, the Chalkfest website is raising money for Ukraine through a tab on its website.

"Everybody who comes to these events becomes part of the family, and so whenever anybody is having something going on in their life, we like to rally around them," said Chalkfest creator Shawn McCann.

Talanova's art featured a traditional Ukrainian jug shattered but repaired.

"I really believe everything will be good," Talanova said. "This jug will be put back together."

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