Art for Aleppo

Delivering relief for Syria by postcard

By Alison Rooney

Russell Ritell, an animator and painter who lives in Cold Spring, recalls his frustration watching footage from the affluent city of Aleppo, which has been largely destroyed by the Syrian civil war. As he and his two daughters watched news coverage, one of them said, “I wish I could do something.”

That, and Facebook posts by outraged artists, got him thinking. He realized he could do something — with art. He reached out to Carla Goldberg, a fellow artist from Cold Spring, and they recruited David Link to help with the information technology for what would become Art for Aleppo: Postcards to Humanity.

Goldberg proposed using postcards. “It made complete sense,” said Ritell. “I was going to make it a regional project, but the postcard made it worldwide. Postcards, and mail in general, have this tangible, connecting-people quality.”

The group asked artists and anyone else with a creative impulse to create a postcard that reflected their feelings about the Syrian crisis. The pieces will be sold for $25 each at a reception scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, at the Catalyst Gallery at 137 Main St. in Beacon, which has donated its space, and afterward online. All proceeds will be donated to the Save the Children’s Syrian relief fund. There will also be an exhibition catalog available on April 20 at blurb.com.

The guidelines to create a postcard are specific but simple: “If it’s the size of an A6 postcard (5.8 by 4.1 inches) and postage will stick to it and you can put an address on it, we will accept it.” See artforaleppo.org for details and a mailing address; all cards must arrive by Saturday, April 15. Organizers so far have received contributions from 14 countries.