People's Artist of Ukraine is an honorary and the highest title awarding to outstanding performing artists whose merits are exceptional in the sphere of the development of the performing arts (theatre, music, dance, circus, cinema, etc.).
Established in 1922 during Soviet times, it was technically called People's Artist of the Ukrainian SSR (Народний артист УРСР). With the establishment of independent Ukraine, this tradition was kept and the title was renamed as People's Artist of Ukraine (Народний артист України).
Its recipients include many of the most highly acclaimed composers, dancers, singers, musicians, film and theatre directors, actors, circus performers, etc.
During Soviet times, a person was usually named People's Artist only after reaching the age of 40. Exceptions were made for ballet artists.
In 2005 the vocalist of the Ukrainian band Vopli Vidplyasova Oleh Skrypka refused to accept the title.
There also is another honorary title, the Distinguished Artist of Ukraine («Заслужений артист України»), which is considered less important. Typically, the People's Artist award is given at least 10 years after one has earned the Distinguished Artist of Ukraine award.