How Odesa Has Kept Its Culture Alive During Quarantine

August 13, 2020
The COVID-19 lockdown has not only changed everyone's life but also given us plenty of free time for development. UkraineWorld, together with its colleagues from Odesa, reviews a story from a local community to see how they have adapted to the new realities of life during the pandemic.
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Photo credit: shutterstock.com

The city of Odesa, which lies on the shores of the Black Sea, is one of the most popular tourist destinations for Ukrainians. Its residents were among the first to show how people can take advantage of quarantine and also promote European values, writes journalist Inna Ischuk for Porto-Franko Newspaper.

Odesa followed Europe's example during the lockdown. Local musicians conducted free online concerts on the streets for those who were in self-isolation. While all mass events in Ukraine were banned due to the coronavirus, artists decided to arrange new ways of performing. To support multiculturalism, a local public enterprise created a Facebook platform for musicians, artists, dancers, poets, writers, and readers.

While all mass events in Ukraine were banned due to the coronavirus, artists decided to arrange new ways of performing.

"Our events have been rather popular recently, so, during the quarantine, we decided to direct our visitors to remote events," says local official Igor Chelidze. In just a few weeks, their online initiatives gained more than three thousand subscribers.

Volunteers held dozens of online activities, especially for children. An online competition of children's drawings called The Planet After the Quarantine received responses from all over Ukraine. Children drew images of a clean planet with happy families and no garbage.

Similarly, other cultural events, like  choreographic and musical competitions, as well as the Bukfest book festival, have also taken place online. Online tours around the biggest parks of Odesa turned out to be an especially engaging experience.

Against this backdrop, online masterclasses have gained a lot of attention. The wide array of subjects has offered everyone something new to pick up, and they have become enormously popular. "My children learned to make paper toys, so they had something to do," says Odesan  Anna Semenova. She was fascinated by beading, while her husband, who lost his job because of the lockdown, watched a lecture on marketing and is now trying work remotely."

"My children learned to make paper toys, so they had something to do," says Odesan  Anna Semenova. She was fascinated by beading, while her husband, who lost his job because of the lockdown, watched a lecture on marketing and is now trying work remotely."

Some celebrations like Vyshyvanka Day and Europe Day were also held online. The first one is dedicatedto the famous embroidered shirts of Ukraine's national costume. Each year on the third Thursday of May, Ukrainians wear vyshyvankas in a show of pride in Ukrainian crafts and tradition.

The Facebook platform has become an impetus for creativity and cultural exchange. And there are still a lot of ideas and projects to implement in the future.


This article was produced through the stipend program Remain in the Profession, run by Internews Ukraine.

The program is made possible by the support of the American people through the Media Program in Ukraine, a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Internews. The contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and Internews Ukraine, and they do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, or Internews.

Yaroslava Kobynets
Journalist at Internews Ukraine

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