Olga Shmuylovich was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1948. She cannot remember a time when she was not creating art. After graduating from the State Academy of Fine Art and Design in Leningrad, she participated in the Art Cultural Movement in the Soviet Union. Much of her work was rooted in her Jewish identity. Like many other young Jews, she and her husband tried unsuccessfully to leave the Soviet Union. They were not able to emigrate until 1992. In Boston, Olga has continued producing and curating art projects and exhibitions.
Olga details her heritage and background, growing up in the Soviet Union, practicing Judaism in private, and the discrimination she and other Jews faced living there. She describes her involvement in ''Aleph,'' a cultural movement of Jewish artists supported by the Council of Soviet Jewry from the United States. Olga talks about her artistic origins and training, working under Solomon Levin, an important mentor and influence. Olga remembers coming to the United States in 1992 with her husband, Nikolay, getting adjusted to life in Boston, and connecting with several Jewish organizations that were assisting Jewish refugees. She talks about her connections in the Boston area with artists, organizations, and galleries and her role as an art teacher for young children and elderly artists. Olga describes various exhibits, collaborations, and installations over the years, including Message and Menorah, Another Butterfly, Creativity Under Duress, and Beanile Forest. Her work is inspired by Jewish culture, history, and tradition.