Two Italian Americans Honored as Cleveland's Past Masters

An Italian American author and a famed Italian American performer are to be recognized as two of Cleveland’s notable “Past Masters” in a year-long, citywide celebration organized by Cleveland Arts Prize in collaboration with the Cleveland History Center. Acclaimed novelist Michael DeCapite and singer/actress and comedienne Kaye Ballard (born Catherine Gloria Balotta) were chosen by juries of eminent authorities to be included in a group of extraordinary creative artists from Cleveland who won national attention before the Prize existed. For more information on the Cleveland Arts Prize Past Masters visit www.pastmastersproject.org. 

The early death of Michael DeCapite (1915–1958) in a car accident at the age of 42 ended what Fred Gardaphé, the foremost scholar of Italian American literature, says was “proving to be a prominent career as an American novelist.” The New York Times called his first novel “Maria” (1943) “a remarkably well-written book, in a

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