The Spring Board Meeting of the American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) in Tampa Bay, FL was generously hosted by its Affiliate, the American Institute of Polish Culture of Tampa Bay, Florida, April 12-13, 2013.  Pres. Debbie Majka opened the meeting and introduced the President of the Tampa Bay institute Christina Markut who cordially greeted the attending members and announced the festive and cultural activities and programs that the Institute had prepared for our entertainment and information.  

    The ACPC Board began its business session with members expressing deep appreciation and thanks to Alice Lech-Laning, Chair of the Audit Committee and to Mary Ellen Tyszka, 2nd V.P. when they unhesitatingly volunteered to keep the minutes during the Board’s meeting in the absence of Recording Secretary Marcia Lewandowski due to illness   During the Board’s business sessions Friday and Saturday, committee chairs reported on activities and progress within their respective programs since the Council’s Fall 2012 Board meeting.  Marion Winters announced that the Pulaski Scholarships for Advanced Studies had received a record number of applications for the $5,000 awards.  

The five students selected by the Committee this year are: Aleksandra Babiarz of Baltimore, MD; Marta Krajniak, Staten Island, NY; Krzysztof Lukasik, Carteret, NJ; Natalie Misteravich, Dearborn, MI; and Ann Hardt Williams, Lexington, MA.  A full description of the accomplishments of these exceptional students was submitted to the Polonia press and listed on the ACPC web site,  Chairman of the Investment Committee Dr. Robert Dutka reported that $25,000 was available this year for the five Pulaski scholarships.

    The Awards Committee report was submitted by Chair Jacqueline Droleski who listed the nominations she had received by mail to date for the Distinguished Service Award, the Cultural Achievement Award, and the ACPC Founders Award.  She urged Affiliates who had not yet responded to send their list of nominees to her.  Nominations will also be accepted from the floor at the annual convention.  The winners will be selected by the Board at the Convention in Baltimore, MD.

    Camille Kopielski, Chair of the Summer Study in Poland, requested that ACPC Affiliates solicit applicants in their respective areas to apply for the opportunity to participate in a summer studies program at a university in Poland.  Winners will be awarded $2,000 toward tuition and travel expenses.  Please see ACPC website for applicant requirements.

 Photo: President Deborah Majka
    Ms. Kopielski also reported on her participation as a Representative of the Polish American Congress (PAC) and that of Mrs. Deborah Majka, PAC V.P. of Cultural Affairs at the annual meeting of the PAC’s National Council of Directors last October in Rosemont, IL.
    ACPC Director Barbara Lemecha mentioned that she has been promoting the repair and renovation of statues, over 30 years old, located at the Orchard Lake Schools museum.  She has been inviting sponsors to cover the cost of renovating at least one statue.  The ACPC Board approved a motion to offer $500 for the renovation of a statue.  Pres. Majka proposed that the statue be that of Adam Mickiewicz.

    Henrietta Nowakowski, who has undertaken research for several years of the contributions of Poles at Jamestown, VA., referred to the year 1619 when the Polish workers went on strike and won the right to vote in the colony.  She proposed and the Board approved her motion to undertake the marking of the 400th Anniversary of the strike.

    Business Manager Judi Tompkins was pleased to report that the latest issue of the ACPC’s publication, Polish Heritage, edited by Dave Motak, which highlights the activities of this national organization, is being enthusiastically received because it is published for the first time in full color and special quality magazine pages.

    Approval for a Historical Marker in Philadelphia, dedicated to Walter Golaski, inventor of the knitted vascular replacement, was obtained by Peter Obst.  Date of the dedication to be announced.   Mr. Obst also announced that he has acquired 16 new Polish Circus (Cyrk) posters, which will be made available as travelling poster exhibits for ACPC Associate and Supporting organizations.  Donations are welcome to help cover the costs of framing the new posters.

    A very impressive report by Cecilia and Raymond Glembocki, Co-Chairs National Conference for the Social Studies, on the Conference held last fall in Seattle, WA.  Board members were privileged to view photo displays of the outstanding posters designed by Carla Tomaszewski, which were on display at our Polish Perspectives Booth in Seattle.  The next Conference at which our Polish Perspectives Booth will be displayed and manned will be held in St. Louis, MO, Nov. 22-24, 2013.  Cecilia and Raymond devoted a very substantial part of the year soliciting and gathering books, pamphlets, audio and video materials, lesson plans as well as posters on historical and cultural data, which make the our Polish Perspectives Booth so outstanding at the Social Studies Conferences.  ACPC members truly appreciate their dedication and devotion to creating and operating an outstanding program that enriches the true picture of Poland’s and Polonia’s contributions to society.

    Music Committee Chair Alicia Dutka revealed that the Committee had received applications from soloists for appearance at the ACPC’s Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Concert during the annual convention in Baltimore.  Subsequently Mrs. Dutka advised that the Committee had selected Sarah Kate Walston, a soprano from Richmond, VA.  

    A project proposal to the National Board of Directors was submitted in the course of the business meeting by Debbie Majka and Dave Motak.  In summary, it is proposed that the ACPC should investigate the possibility of sponsoring a traveling exhibition in the United States to celebrate and promote the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Poland.  The Board moved that ACPC should become involved in the proposed project.

    Carolyn Meleski referred to the ACPC Literary Competition Awards, which were generously established by the late Dr. Estelle von Wachtel Torres.  Mrs. Meleski reported that the ACPC’s Detroit Affiliate, the Friends of Polish Art, had made a $5,000 donation to the Literary Competition program in memory of Dr. von Wachtel Torres.  This year two ACPC Affiliate Organizations sponsored short story competitions, which qualified for the ACPC Literary Competition program.  The Polish Heritage Society of Rochester, NY awarded a $150 prize, which was matched by ACPC for a total award of $300.  The winner was Elizabeth Elkins for her story “Jewish Krakow.  The Friends of Polish Art, Detroit had a literary  competition in process at the time of this report with a first prize of $125 to be matched $125 by ACPC.  Affiliate organizations are encouraged to sponsor their own literary competitions, which will enjoy ACPC’s financial support through the Dr. Estelle von Wachtel Torres bequeath.

    After the Friday business session was finished, the members were treated to a variety of tasty aperitifs and wines.  During the luncheon on Saturday, Board members were deeply impressed by a an in-depth audio visual presentation of an important project introduced by the American Institute of Polish Culture, Tampa Bay, “The Wall Speaks”, conceived and directed by Wojtek Sawa, film director and visual artist.  It is based on stories of children and teenagers placed in extreme situations during and after World War II.  

The content is represented through an interactive installation-exhibit featuring short artistic documentary films, large format photography, and especially designed artifacts, that are shown at American universities and museums.  It is conducted with the participation of the museums, scholars, and students in Poland and the United States, and with the support of the American Institute of Polish Culture, Tampa Bay and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, Washington, DC.  “The Wall Speaks” stories are a gift from the story tellers, their lives, thoughts, senses, emotions, to all of us!  Audiences are mesmerized by the courage, the beauty, and power found in these stories as they offer their heartfelt “thanks” and love.  
For Saturday evening the ACPC Board members were graciously invited to participate in the Florida Institute’s 31st Anniversary Ball celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of famous Polish composer and conductor Witold Lutoslawski.  This was a splendiferous event that will be detailed in a well-deserved write-up of its own in the Polonia press.

    Most of the Council’s members remember well Wally West who was instrumental in finding and leading the outstanding development of the American Institute of Polish Culture and inspired its renowned activities.  The Council expresses its deep appreciation and offers heartfelt thanks to the Institute’s President Christine Markut for making the ACPC’s Spring Board Meeting a wholeheartedly charming and memorable visit.

Alicia Dutka

    Earlier, Board Members were delighted to learn from Thomas Payne, President Polish American Arts Association of Washington, DC that the ACPC Affiliate will be hosting the Council’s 65th Annual Convention in Baltimore, MD, July 31 – Aug. 4, 2013.   We’ll be staying in the vicinity of Baltimore’s famous Inner Harbor and the Katyn Memorial – so much to see and do!  Join us!
    Dziekujemy z calego serca I do milego zobaczenia w Baltimore, MD na roczna konwencje!