The French government has announced a €1 million ($1.1 million) relief fund for Ukrainian artists and arts workers displaced by the Russian invasion. The initiative will also be available to “dissident” Russian artists fleeing the nation’s crackdown on free speech, according to a statement from the French Ministry of Culture.
“The emergency reception program will finance Ukrainian artists and cultural professionals and their families for a period of three months, via the Pause program, [consisting of] residencies within the network of public establishments of the ministry and through the Cité internationale des arts [an artist-in-residence building in Paris],” the ministry’s statement said.
About €750,000 ($826,000) is dedicated to an emergency telephone service offered in both Ukrainian and Russian in collaboration with the organization Agency of Artists in Exile, which supports imperiled artists through networking with regional professionals and studio space opportunities.
“This facility will make it easy and quick to guide the people concerned,” the ministry said. An additional €300,000 ($330,000) will go toward helping Ukrainian students enroll at colleges and French culture organizations.
Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, the French minister of culture, “wants Ukrainian artists to be supported so they can continue their creative work in France…This additional support will be in the form of research grants and funding for artistic projects, but also for organizing exhibitions,” the ministry said.
Russia’s assault on Ukraine, now in its third week, has sparked Europe’s biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II. The UN’s refugee agency has reported that at least 2.6 million Ukrainians have fled their homeland to neighboring countries. The organization estimates that that number could climb to 6 million as Russia’s bombardment of Ukrainian cities intensifies. According to the French interior minister, Gèrald Darmanin, the French government has pledged to accept around 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.