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Boston’s Polish Cultural Foundation
Celebrates 15th Anniversary
On October 12, 2013, the Polish Cultural Foundation (PCF) celebrated its 15th anniversary at the John Paul II Hall at Our Lady of Czestochowa (OLCz) Parish Center in South Boston. At the event, activities of the PCF for the last 15 years were presented in the form of an exhibit and in writing. All of our Board Directors and Friends (PCF helpers) received special recognition. Later in the evening, a Charitable Ball honoring the PCF 15th anniversary took place which was very well attended (150 persons) and raised over 3,000 dollars for the blind children in Laski, Poland.
In photo: President Andrzej Pronczuk and Vice President Elzbieta Welz
15 Years of Activities of the PCF
The PCF was established in 1998 in Boston, as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. It was formed in the footsteps of a previously existing charitable organization, The Polish Relief Fund, which had been active since 1981.
During the past 15 years, the PCF has realized its goals in many ways: through film presentations, exhibits, concerts, festivals, publications, and charitable activities.
Within the purview of film presentations, four Polish film festivals as well as individual showings of noteworthy films, mainly Polish productions, were organized. Altogether, 30 feature-length films and 4 documentaries were shown.
Another important activity of the Foundation has been preparing and displaying exhibits related to Polish culture, history, or famous Poles. Between 1998 and 2003, while taking part in an annually held International Festival for the children of New England, PCF put together an exhibit called “Poland”. Approximately 25,000 -35,000 children with teachers attended each day. In all, about 150,000 American children were exposed to the Polish exhibit.
The second major exhibit created in 2003 by PCF in cooperation with KWADRAT from Cracow was a photo exhibit about John Paul II. This exhibit was expanded several times, adding new photos and quotes from the teachings of John Paul II. Inauguration of this exhibit took place in Boston at OLCz Parish on September 27, 2003. Since then, the exhibit has been shown 42 times at 30 locations in 9 states.
An exhibit, entitled: “May 3rd Constitution of 1791”, was given some years ago to the PCF by the Polish Consulate in New York. It was graphically improved and an accompanying catalogue was published. It has been shown multiple times on the occasion of the May 3rd holiday in Polish parishes in Boston, as well as at the State House in Boston, at Harvard University, in Washington, D.C., and in Philadelphia.
Another exhibit that the PCF created included one on the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, titled “Katyn Genocide 1940”. It was shown five times in 2000 at several Polish parishes and at the public library in Worcester, MA.
To educate the American public about World War II and German concentration camps, the PCF signed an agreement in 2011 to show an exhibit in the US from the National Museum in Auschwitz titled “Konzentrationslager Auschwitz”. Having received its content electronically, the PCF produced an exact replica of this exhibit and has shown it at the State House in Boston (October-November, 2012) and at the State Library in Concord, NH (March, 2013). This exhibit has already been a big success and has already been viewed by several thousand Americans.
Another significant activity by the PCF was an effort to establish plaques in Boston and surrounding areas related to Polish history and Poland. In November, 2000, in cooperation with the Moniuszko Society, a plaque to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Katyn massacre was made and hung inside OLCz Church. In 2006, thanks to the PCF efforts, the sculpture of Andrzej Pytynski’s, “Partisans”, which was removed from Boston Common, was saved and a new prominent location in Boston was found. In 2009, in cooperation with the local veteran organizations, a new plaque commemorating the arrival of Casimir Pulaski to America was prepared and unveiled on October 18, 2009 in Marblehead, MA which was Pulaski’s landing place on July 23, 1777.
An important activity of the PCF has been supporting the development of Polish language schools. In May, 2002, a conference titled “The Development of Polish Supplementary Schools of the Polish Language in Boston and Vicinity” was organized. This brought forth more contacts and inter-school cooperation. Since the beginning of the Foundation and for the next 10 years, members of the PCF Board worked on the Board of the John Paul II Polish Language School in Boston.
Another important direction of the PCF activities was the organization of concerts and performances of artists from Poland and from within Polonia. Among others, PCF organized a performance by Wojciech Siemon in February, 1998; Jerzy Zelnik in October, 1998; a performance by actors of the Atellier Theatre of Sopot in November, 1999. More recently actors from the Toronto Theatre presented the play “Radiation” about Marie Curie-Sklodowska in September, 2011, and the play “Ordonka’s Secrets” in April 2013.
Of the concerts that the PCF organized, four piano concerts are highlighted. In May of 2008, a recital was held featuring Jacek Kortus, the youngest finalist of the 2006 International Chopin Festival in Warsaw. Next, in March 2010, the recital of Konrad Binienda, a Polish student of Harvard and the Boston Conservatory, took place. Another pianist, Krzysztof Tkaczewski, a teacher from Hartford, gave a concert in April of 2012. Recently, in October of 2012, Maciej Grzybowski, a renowned pianist from Poland, gave a concert.
In addition to classical music, jazz concerts were also organized; one with Grazyna Auguscik in March 1998 and in September 2006, and with Wiesia and Hubert Szymanski, Polish jazz artists from Sweden, in February 2000. Also several concerts were organized with musicians well known to Boston Polonia such as Bronek Suchanek, Marcin Malewski, and Bogdan Holownia in January, 2010 and January, 2012.
To promote Polish entertainment, music, Polish food, books, Polish art and general information about Poland, the PCF has participated in the annual Harvest Festival at OLCz parish for the past 15 years. In addition, since 2009, PCF alone or in cooperation with others, has organized an annual Spring Fest in May/June and a Christmas Fair in December.
Lastly, a very important direction of the activities of the Foundation, were our charitable ones. Funds for these activities were collected by organizing dances, banquets, charitable balls and to some degree from proceeds of other PCF events. In the past 15 years, the PCF has collected and donated to various social and charitable causes over $51,000, mostly in aid to the institutions for the needy children.
In conclusion, we would like to express the hope that we and our successors, the new generation of activists, will be successful in continuing the activities of the Polish Cultural Foundation in Boston for many years to come so that the Polish spirit, Polish traditions, and Polish culture can continue to be solidified and exist in our community.
For more information about the PCF, write: PCF-Boston, 15 Marshall Rd., Milton, MA 02186, ph: 617-696-9009 or visit: pcf-boston.org
Dr. Andrzej Pronczuk
President, PCF, Inc.