The Polish American Arts Association (PAAA) of Washington, D.C. was well represented at this year’s annual convention of the American Council for Polish Culture.
PAAA attendees included: Dr. Estelle von Wachtel-Torres, PAAA’s immediate past president; Elaine Payne, PAAA recording secretary and newly elected member of the ACPC Board of Directors; Jane Morse, first vice president, and her husband David, PAAA’s web master; board member Bernadette Wiermanski and her husband Richard; board member Alice Lech Laning and her husband Robert; audit committee member Ted Mirecki and his wife Irena, who is a member of the nominating committee; Col. Robert Flanagan and his wife Mary; and, Euphemia Banas.
This year’s ACPC convention theme was the “Invincible Polish Spirit.” That invincible Polish spirit, so evident in our own Estelle von Wachtel-Torres, won her the ACPC Founders Award along with S. Paul Bosse, who in 2001 received Poland’s Cavalier Cross of the Order of Merit for his lifetime work in promoting Polish culture. The Distinguished Service Award went to Frank Fox, a noted writer, historian, and collector of the works of major Polish poster artists.
We saw another example of the invincible Polish spirit during a lovely side trip that took attendees to see the Polish Music Collection established in 1985 by Wanda Wilk, winner of the ACPC Cultural Achievement Award, and her husband Stefan. The collection, housed in the Specialized Libraries and Archival Collection at the University of Southern California, includes more than 100 music manuscripts written by modern Polish composers.
Speakers Jagna Wright and Aneta Naszynska also demonstrated their invincible Polish spirit in their film production, “A Forgotten Odyssey,” which was shown to ACPC attendees. These ladies labored for two years on their own time while holding full-time day jobs to produce a documentary that includes interviews with Polish survivors of the Siberian labor camps established shortly after World War Two by Soviet Russia. Their film was screened last year on British cable television, the History Channel, and on Channel One of Polish Television.
ACPC, founded in 1948, is a national non-profit, charitable, cultural and educational organization which represents the interests of some 25 affiliated Polish American cultural organizations throughout the United States. ACPC’s annual conventions bring together the leadership and members of those organizations to share ideas, recognize outstanding accomplishments, and buttress Polish American endeavors via financial and political support. For more information, see ACPC’s website at: http://www.polishcultureacpc.org/