By Yaro Bihun – The TWG Cultural Fund concluded its 1994 activities with a discussion about art with Olga Hirshhorn, and started 1995 with an evening at the Washington Opera’s performance of Handel’s Semele.

Appearing at a CF evening at St. Sophia’s December 8, Mrs. Hirshhorn described how she met Wall Street millionaire and art collector Joseph Hirshhorn, their life together, and their friendships with many of this century’s great artists—Picasso, Caulder, De Kooning, Steichen, among others—whose art adorned their residences and, later, the Smithsonian Institution’s museum of modern art that bears Mr. Hirshhorn’s name.

The best thing that Joseph Hirshhorn left her (he died in 1981), Mrs. Hirshhorn said, “was an interest and involvement in the arts,” which she has since pursued on her own.

Mrs. Hirshhorn also spoke about her more recent involvement with Cuba, trying to improve conditions for the people there and to bring down the barriers that separate that country and the US. She recounted her visit to a Cuban hospital that was treating 200 Chornobyl children from Ukraine.

A TWG member since 1992, Mrs. Hirshhorn has Ukrainian roots that reach back to the Ternopil region.

At the conclusion of the evening, Ms. Chopivsky presented Mrs. Hirshhorn with a gift of a bronze sculpture First Warrior, donated to TWG by Ukrainian artist Ruslan Naida, whose sculptures and ink drawings were part of a companion exhibit to the exhibit of priceless Ukrainian Trypillian artifacts exhibited in Washington and New York.

One of Mr. Naida’s recent causes has been to correct erroneous nameplates under two works of Alexander Archipenko at the Hirshhorn Museum. Since their installation, the two sculptures had carried labels stating that Archipenko was “born in Russia.” Mr. Naida implored Mrs. Hirshhorn to correct the error, noting that Archipenko was born in Kyyiv. By early February, Mr. Naida reported that, thanks to the intercession of Mrs. Hirshhorn, the erro was corrected, and that Archipenko’s works now state that the artist was “born in Ukraine.”

The Cultural Fund welcomed in the New Year January 4 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater, enjoying the Washington Opera’s full technical rehearsal of Handel’s Semele. The opera was directed by Roman Terleckyj, a panel participant in the 1993 Leadership Conference, whose recent opera direction has been getting very favorable reviews. Among the 34 participants of the CF’s “Night at the Opera” were 10 guests from the Embassy of Ukraine, including Ambassador and Mrs. Yuri Scherbak. Occupying the theater’s box seats (excluding the President’s, which was being used by the opera company’s technical personnel) the TWG party had the theater all to itself.

The performance was followed by a champagne and desert reception in the Eisenhower Theater’s Bird Room. The next TWG Cultural Fund attraction, according to Ms. Chopivsky, will be a concert of Ukrainian and Western liturgical music by the University of California’s Berkeley Chamber Chorus, conducted by Maria Kuzma. The concert will be on May 21 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown.
Photo caption: Cultural Fund Chairman Laryssa Chopivsky (left) presents Ruslan Naida’s First Warrior to Olga Hirshhorn following a discussion about her art collection.

Reprinted with permission from The Ukrainian Weekly.