“She came to the town herself and gave us some ceramic art that she made. We still have them and sometimes we expose them to the public,” Kelichavyi said as he visited the downtown Troy mural.
“I think it’s great,” he said of the mural. The style of her art — she was known for Ukrainian pysanky decorated eggs, along with metal and other sculpture, ceramics, painting and textiles — caught his eye.
“I like Aka’s art, its uniqueness. It is not traditional. She had her own style,” he said.
When Pereyma was selected for the museum honor, before his country was plunged into war with Russia, Kelichavyi said he knew he would be coming to Ohio this month for an international gathering of city managers. He looked up Troy and found it wasn’t far from the conference location.
“I thought it would be good to reach out to somebody because I was thinking that Aka was known in Troy,” he said.
Indeed she was known in Troy and far beyond. Pereyma showcased her Ukrainian heritage in artwork throughout her life. In 2003, she was labeled a living cultural treasure by the Ohio Arts Council, in its Ohio Heritage Fellows program.
Kelichavyi made contact with Troy City Hall and traveled to Troy, where he was given a whirlwind, brief tour of Pereyma art before the luncheon with Pereyma’s daughters and others.
Mayor Robin Oda was among those who accompanied the mayor. She said she was impressed by Kelichavyi, who has been mayor for two years. The city, she said, “loved being able to have him here.”
Kopychyntsi is located away from the current fighting in Ukraine, but the ongoing war has impacted everyone, he said.
“We are lucky ones. We are safe and doing a lot of humanitarian work,” he said. The community has received people displaced by the war, helping with food, money and other needs. The local hospital has treated civilians, injured including those from a nearby town that was struck by missiles recently.
Local men have also gone to the front lines to help defend Ukraine. Three have died there, Kelichavyi said.
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