Press Release

Pysanky Season in Alexandria Starts Feb. 15

This unique spring fundraiser supports Razom for Ukraine, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Ukrainians affected by war and more

Photo: Pysanky Steph

ALEXANDRIA, VA-For the third year, Alexandria-based The Critical Mass, LLC, Made in ALX and local Ukrainian-American artists led by Pysanky Steph are partnering on a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization Razom for Ukraine.

As the war in Ukraine drags on, the region’s humanitarian crisis continues to grow. More Ukrainian residents are being displaced every day due to the war. This annual fundraiser benefits Razom for Ukraine, a nonprofit organization founded in 2014 and dedicated to building up Ukraine and its people.

This year, Pysanky Steph (Ukrainian-American artist Stephanie Malm Cheeseman) and other local artists will decorate traditional pysanky (decorated eggs) to sell at Made in ALX in Alexandria. Handmade by artisans featured in The Washington Post, the pysanky make stunning host gifts, centerpieces, and seasonal decor with meaning. Each is a one-of-a-kind keepsakes that link to generations of history, tradition and faith. Each pysanky comes in a display case with information about the culture and symbolism of each pysanky. Sixty percent of revenue from each pysanky sold will benefit Razom for Ukraine.

The Critical Mass, LLC, an Alexandria-based small business that provides expert CBRNE operations support in areas including Ukraine,  started the fundraiser in 2021. Last year, the project raised more than $4,500 for Razom for Ukraine.

Photo: Pysanky Steph


What are Pysanky?

Pysanky (pronounced PIH-san-kih; singular form is pysanka) are Ukrainian Easter eggs, elaborately decorated in the batik (wax-resist) method. This art has been passed down through generations of Ukrainians and they are traditionally made during Lent to be given as gifts to friends and family.

Legend says that there is a monster that represents all evil chained to a cliff, and how tight those chains hold it is entirely dependent on how many pysanky are made each year. The more made, the tighter the chains hold evil at bay.

The pysanky will be available for purchase at Made in ALX, a local artisan collective at 533 Montgomery St. in Old Town North, Alexandria, starting Feb. 15.

2nd Annual Pysanky Party is Feb. 25

The second annual Pysanky Party is set for Sunday, Feb. 25 from 5 – 7 p.m. at Made in ALX (533 Montgomery St. in Old Town North). Admission is free (RSVP through, and guests will get to see new pysanky, meet the local artists, and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and drinks. More than half of all pysanky sales will benefit Razom for Ukraine. Made in ALX will also donate 10% of all other sales during the party to the organization.

Learn to Make Pysanky

Pysanky Steph will be teaching pysanky classes at Made in ALX this spring, with most of the ticket proceeds benefiting Razom for Ukraine. The first class is Sunday, Feb. 25 from 2 – 4 p.m. Guests will learn how to use the batik method to create their own colorful pysanky. All tools and dyes will be provided for this educational and fun event. Sign up through Another class is scheduled for Saturday, March 9 from 2 – 4 p.m.

About the Organizations

The Critical Mass (TCM), LLC is an award-wining Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Woman-Owned (WOSB) based in Alexandria, Virginia. TCM applies a  Do Tank/Think Tank approach to implementing results-focused projects and sustainable security solutions in CBRNE, Women Peace, and Security (WPS), and Scientific Diplomacy. Learn more at

Made in ALX is a collective of more than 45 Alexandria-based makers, artists and creators. In addition to giving local artists a retail and teaching home in Alexandria’s Old Town North neighborhood, Made in Alexandria supports artistic entrepreneurs and focuses on giving back to the local community. Made in ALX started in 2020.

Razom for Ukraine is a nonprofit organization that started in Washington, D.C. in 2014.  Razom means “together” in Ukrainian and serves as a constant reminder of the community that it takes to create, build and do. Razom creates spaces where people meet, partner and work together to unlock the potential of Ukraine.  We maintain a relentless focus on the needs on the ground to support Ukraine and on opportunities to amplify voices from Ukraine in conversations in the United States. Learn more at

[SEE ALSO: Learn About the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office by Applying for Its Community Academy]

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