SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Images of Ukrainian refugees on the Polish border shared by Dominican priests were a call to action for Brian Boitano and Franc D'Ambrosio.
D'Ambrosio, known best for his long-running role as the Phantom in the Phantom of the Opera, is sharing his talents in an effort to provide aid for the refugees.
SLIDESHOW: Ukranian Refugees on Polish Border
"We were looking for something tangible to do, what can we do," explains D'Ambrosio. "And I thought to myself well we should put on a benefit concert and raise as much money as we possibly can and get it sent right over to them. We have a 501(c)3 set up and it will go right into the hands of the Dominican priests that are on the front lines to offer food, help, and psychological help for the children."
This performer is raising his voice to raise money to help families fleeing the war overseas.
"Music is the international language and we hope we can use this language to raise a lot of money for those who really need it," says D'Ambrosio.
In the kitchen, Olympic figure skating champion, Brian Boitano, brings his famed culinary skills to the table. This is to serve as an invitation for others to offer donations to the humanitarian needs in response to the war.
"If I can use my name and my profile to help, I am going to do it," states Boitano. "It's like you always want to try to do more, it will never be enough but as long as we can find a way to contribute."
Polish-born artist Agnieszka Pilat, best known for her series of heroic portraits of technology and machines, was a recent artist-in-residence at engineering and robotics firm Boston Dynamics; she worked with Spot the robot to create a painting titled "Sunrise March" as a gift to help raise funds for the care of the Ukrainian refugees arriving in Poland.
This painting was executed by the quadruped robot's marching feet, as a lyrical metaphor for the feet of millions of refugees marching towards Poland in hope of escaping the war. As a Polish artist, Pilat feels great solidarity with the Ukrainian people, with whom Poland has a shared history of fighting totalitarian regimes.
Bearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag, the painting represents not only despair but also the march for hope and freedom. The painting will be up for auction at the event.
Boitano, D'Ambrosio and Pilat hope their gesture here in the Bay Area is one small way to make a big impact for families escaping their homes in Ukraine.
"The new group of refugees have no one, nowhere to go," explains D'Ambrosio. "My friends that are the Polish Dominican priests that are right on the border of Ukraine, they asked for help so we need to help."
All of the funds raised will be put directly to use on the front lines of the Ukraine-Poland border providing shelter, food and medical care to refugees entering Poland.
The fundraiser will be held on Friday, March 18 at a private residence in San Francisco. Guests will enjoy an evening with craft cocktails and farm-to-table hors d'oeuvres created by Brian Boitano, a concert by Franc D'Ambrosio, and an auction of the Agnieszka Pilat painting Sunrise March.
The Consul General of Ukraine and the Consul General of Italy will speak to provide context to what people are experiencing firsthand every day right now.
"These are souls, these are people, and they are hurting," says D'Ambrosio. "And while we live so far away but we can make a difference."
Details of the event can be found here. At this link, you can also make a donation to help provide resources for these priests and refugees.
for more features.