Frances Babic

Frances Babic, the recipient of this year’s Ohio Heritage Fellowship for Community Leadership, has worked tirelessly since the 1950s to preserve, catalog, exhibit and promote the traditional cultural arts of Slavic communities throughout northern Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Born in 1930 and now a resident of Gates Mills, a small Geauga County town east of Cleveland, Babic served for several years as a professor in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Cultures at John Carroll University in Cleveland. She has also taught at several other schools in the Cleveland area, including Notre Dame College, Ursuline College and Lakeland Community College.

Babic has curated numerous exhibitions—at the Croatian Heritage Museum in Eastlake, the Riffe Gallery in Columbus, Notre Dame College, the Cleveland Museum of Art and elsewhere—of Croatian, Slavic and Slovenian art, textiles, clothing, domestic goods and pysanky, elaborately decorated Ukrainian Easter eggs. Babic has also lectured widely and written extensively on traditional Slavic culture, music and art and co-founded the Eleanor Malburg Eastern Churches Seminar. In 1999, she received an award from the Republic of Croatia, the Presidential Order of the Croatian Pletera for her efforts on behalf of the folk cultures of Eastern Europe.

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