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2023 Hospodar & Hospodynia

Peter & Geraldine Shostak - 2023

We are honoured to welcome you to this, the fiftieth Pysanka Festival, a celebration and sharing of our vibrant culture.

More than half a century ago, the idea of a festival was born.  Thanks to the foresight, perseverance, and hard work of a small group of individuals, along with countless volunteers,  the seeds for this festival were sown on a hospitable, nourishing soil.

We are pleased to see that this celebration of our culture continues to grow and evolve.  A culture is not static and not frozen in time but continues to grow as the community itself changes. 

We especially welcome all of the newly arrived Ukrainians, who are now becoming part of our family.  We are confident that as they settle into their new homes here in Canada, just as our early pioneers did more than one hundred twenty-five years  ago, they will contribute to our vibrant evolving traditions and artistic culture.

We extend a warm welcome to all of our visitors and we hope that everyone has a wonderful time during this fiftieth celebration and sharing of who we are.

Peter and Geraldine Shostak were both born and raised in Bonnyville, Alberta.  After attending the University of Alberta, they began their teaching careers in Grand Centre and next in Edson, Alberta.  In 1969, they moved to Victoria, where Peter was appointed Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria and Geraldine taught in an elementary school in Saanich.

Peter made a decision to change careers in 1979 to become a full=time visual artist.  In turn, Geraldine gave up her teaching position to assume the role of business manager and research assistant.

As the small Ukrainian community in Victoria began to grow, they both took an active part in various cultural and church activities. Peter, as President of the Ukrainian Cultural Society, was the leading force in the acquisition of a building that became the Ukrainian Cultural Centre.  Geraldine, for many years, conducted language instruction for children and directed a mixed adult choir. To this day, the Centre continues to be the focal point of Ukrainian cultural activities in Victoria. 

Prior to their move to Courtenay, BC in 2005, Peter’s initiative and leadership resulted in the establishment of a Ukrainian Fully Endowed Scholarship at Pearson College of the Pacific (A United World College). Every year, since 1994, this scholarship enables at least one student from Ukraine to attend the two year program.

During his career as an artist, spanning over forty years, Peter’s paintings have been exhibited in most major cities in Canada.  He has received national recognition of his contribution to the arts and his community.  Some of his awards include the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Shevchenko Medal for Culture and the Arts.  Most recently, he was elected as a Member of the prestigious Royal Canadian Geographic Society College of Fellows.

In honour of the Ukrainian pioneers, Peter dedicated five years of painting to portray their stories in a series of fifty paintings.  His artistic dedication and Geraldine’s assistance in editing and research, culminated in a most important achievement in the publication entitled FOR OUR CHILDREN. The book gives one an insight into the hardships and achievements of all early settlers.

Peter and Geraldine continue to be involved in the ever-changing Ukrainian Canadian community.

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