Kyle Johnson
Josephine Johnson, second from right, and family get to work on her artwork fundraiser to aid refugees from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Kyle Johnson Josephine Johnson, second from right, and family get to work on her artwork fundraiser to aid refugees from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sequim youth’s art raises funds for Ukrainians

More than $1,000 has been donated to UNICEF for cause

SEQUIM — One Sequim preteen’s art projects are helping refugees half a world away.

Josephine Johnson, about to turn 12, has turned her passion for painting into more than $1,000 she is sending to UNICEF to support aid efforts for Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion.

“I was just going to paint some paintings … some Ukraine flags,” said Josephine, from her home in Carlsborg, where she’s homeschooled.

“I like to paint a lot of things.”

Recently those creations have been plenty of Ukraine flags and flowers, which she, with the help of her parents, has promoted and sold on Facebook and word of mouth, with each dollar going to UNICEF.

“Trying to explain war to kids is just ridiculous; it shows us all how ridiculous it really is,” said Josephine’s father, Kyle Johnson, a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer.

Kyle served in Iraq and Afghanistan, he noted, “so they [Josephine and siblings] have always had that perspective [of war] a little bit but never really talk about it.

“A lot of questions came up as this [invasion] came front and center in the news.”

That’s when Josephine started working on Ukraine-focused art projects. First came flags, then sunflowers.

“You could just tell her heart went out to these people,” Kyle said. “Like all of us, really, she just felt helpless.”

“She started painting first to express her feelings. Someone said, ‘That’s great. You should sell those.’ That’s where she started going gangbusters.”

Pieces went up for sale for $25 each in late spring, he said, with Josephine’s goal at $1,000. Recently, she reached the $1,400 mark.

“We started helping her out a little bit; she got the whole family working together,” Kyle said.

“They’ve gotten to know her over at Michael’s, buying canvasses,” he said.

Josephine said she plans to finish her fundraising efforts in June, when her family has a vacation planned.

For more about the paintings, contact the Johnson family at


Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at

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