Today, the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) announces the recipients of the 2023 Ohio Heritage Fellowship: Nancy Schwartz-Katz of Shaker Heights and Oleg Kruglyakov of Cleveland.
Ohio Heritage Fellowships are awarded $5,000 in recognition of the significant impact an individual or group has had on the people and communities of the state through their advancement and preservation of the folk or traditional arts. In addition, fellows are profiled through the Traditions video series, produced in partnership with public broadcasting affiliate ThinkTV.
“The Ohio Arts Council is pleased to present Nancy and Oleg, two internationally recognized artists, with this award,” said OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins. “Their commitment to the preservation and cultivation of their respective art forms in Northeast Ohio and beyond has helped to deepen people’s understanding of the connections between, art, culture, and history.”
About Nancy Schwartz-Katz
For more than 30 years, Schwartz-Katz has helped to preserve and expand the traditional Judaic arts of manuscript illustration and papercutting in Cleveland and beyond. A graduate of the Parsons School of Design, Schwartz-Katz fuses her background as an illustrator, love of learning and reading, and her Jewish heritage to create her works of art.
Schwartz-Katz began specializing in Judaic art after receiving multiple requests to create ketubot, or Jewish marriage contracts. Now, they hang in hundreds of homes in Cleveland and across the country. In addition to ketubot, she has been commissioned nationally and internationally to create awards, recognitions, and other works for synagogues and Jewish community organizations.
Highly recognized for her work, Schwartz-Katz was selected as the People’s Choice artist while exhibiting at the Artist Archives of the Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio; she was juried into the Parsons’ Alumni Exhibit in New York City; and she has twice been accepted into the New Now exhibit, a juried biennial showcasing artists who bring a fresh approach to art in a tri-county area of Northeast Ohio.
About Oleg Kruglyakov
Oleg Kruglyakov is a balalaika virtuoso dedicated to sustaining Russian folk instrument music in the United States and beyond. A student of the balalaika since age 7, Kruglyakov grew up in a musical family—his mother was a singer-songwriter, and around the family dinner table Cossack, Russian, Belarusian, and Ukrainian folk songs were often sung.
After moving to the U.S. in 1998, he founded the Cleveland-based Moscow Nights, which toured the U.S. successfully for eight years. In 2007, Kruglyakov formed his current project, Russian Duo, with pianist Terry Boyarsky, and they continue to perform frequently and work as artists-in-residence in schools. Their mission is to model cross-cultural collaboration, linking the old with the new, classical with folk.
Kruglyakov has also established a foundation dedicated to preserving Russian folk music traditions internationally through competitions, forums, festivals, concerts, and documentation projects.