Annual ACPC Convention
August 8 - 12, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota


[Photograph Williamsburg Meeting]

At Minnehaha Falls
(l. to r.) Peter Obst, Judi Tompkins, Rose Kobylinski, Richard Poremski, Debbie Majka, Mary Beth Danko (front), Edyta Dudek, Tom Payne, Janine Danko
scroll down for additional photographs

ACPC 70th Annual Convention

The American Council for Polish Culture (ACPC) held its 70th Annual Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from August 8 through 12. The local hosting organization was PACIM - Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota, a large and active group which promotes Polish culture in the area. The Crowne Plaza Hotel housed the convention and provided space for the meetings and the Awards Banquet. Located in mid-town the hotel was at close to shopping plazas and near to the theater district. Those who opted to use the light rail service, could reach the downtown from the airport quickly, or travel farther out and visit the famous Mall of America.

Meetings started on Thursday with introductory comments from Edward Rajtar, president of PACIM, ACPC President Tom Payne, and a prayer from Fr. Philip Majka. Jaromir Luikan sang the Polish and American National Anthems. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, whose background is partly Polish, took time from his busy schedule to welcome the conventioneers to the city. After the business session, Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Archdiocese delivered an interesting talk about the significance of religion in Polish life at home and abroad. Though he apologized, stating that his audience was probably more knowledgeable about these matters than he, it turned out that he had some interesting observations to share and the session concluded with an interesting question and answer period.

Two new scholarships were inaugurated. The Walter Zahariasiewicz journalism scholarship, and a new version of the Polish Studies Scholarship, renamed for Leonard Skowronski who gave a large bequest designated for its support.

Later in the day, convention members travelled to the beautiful Chapel at Lakewood Cemetery where the Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Concert was held. This year's competition winner, Justine Izewski, delivered a beautiful and spirited performance accompanied by Seulgee Lee Nelson on the piano. Afterward, a group picture was taken of the singer and accompanist together with the music committee, headed by Jaroslaw Golembiowski.

On Friday Ray and Cecile Glembocki presented their plans and items to be featured at the National Conference for the Social Studies in Chicago, IL (Nov. 30-Dec. 2). Since next year is the 400th Anniversary of the "strike" that gave Poles working at the Jamestown colony voting rights, they will also attend a state conference at Roanoke, VA. Henrietta Nowakowski spoke at length about this "strike" which Virginia state historians prefer to call a "work stoppage." She had a nice Power Point presentation which underscored the significance of a St. Hyacinth medal found during an archeological investigation at Jamestown. The point was that it was most likely Poles who would have had a memento devoted to a saint from their own country.

The luncheon speaker that day was Jordan Sramek who gave a very illuminating talk about Polish Medieval and Renaissance music. For years now he has been the director of the Rose Ensemble which is devoted to performing and exploring early European music.

That evening, at the annual banquet, the following awards were presented:
- Distinguished Service Award - Richard P. Poremski
- Cultural Achievement Award - Carla Tomaszewski
- Founders Award - Judi Tompkins and Tom Payne

On Saturday, a number of resolutions were approved, among them two were especially significant.

The convention remembered Polish-American historian Edward Pinkowski who this year reached the age of 102. A card was signed by all attending and mailed to Mr. Pinkowski to his home in the Ft. Lauderdale, FL, area. Age has not stopped him, and he continues to pursue various lines of research.

The other resolution mentioned that seven paintings and four tapestries from the Polish Pavilion at the 1939-40 World'sFair in New York City have been preserved at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, and the Polish Government has indicated a strong interest in having them return to Poland.

It was therefore resolved that the ACPC Convention issue a letter, signed by President Tom Payne, supporting Poland's Minister of Culture Piotr Glinski in his negotiations to have these paintings and tapestries returned to Poland and placed in the new National Museum of Polish History in Warsaw.

In the afternoon the group boarded a bus and toured Minnehaha Park among the lakes and visited the famous Minnehaha Falls immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha." Afterwards the bus crossed the Mississippi at Nicollet Island and the conventioneers went to spend some time at the Twin Cities Polish Festival located in a park alongside the river. Pierogi, piwo and polkas were in plentiful supply. One could try the food, listen to the folk singers, watch the folk dance groups or dance to the sound of different polka bands. There were also souvenir stands selling t-shirts, Polish made products, and souvenirs. Even writer James Conroyd Martin was there promoting his series of books that began with "Push not the River."

Though this was one of the smaller conventions in recent years, a lot of business was efficiently conducted with new and continuing projects being proposed and financed. Those in attendance had a chance to visit the grater metropolitan area of Minneapolis and see how the Polish-American community was doing there (Quite well!) Conventioneers made new friends, revived old contacts and had a chance to trade ideas before returning to their local cultural clubs.

Photographs by Cecilia Larkin: go to Photo Set 1

Photographs by Jackie Kolowski: go to Photo Set 2

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1. (l. to r.) Robert Dutka delivers report at podium, Tom Payne (President), Robert Synakowski (1st Vice-president), Judi Tompkins (Treasurer)


2. (l. to. r.) Debbie Majka presents Founders Award
to Tom Payne (photo by Barbara Lemecha)

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3. (l. to. r.) Judi Tompkins receives Founders Award
from Robert Synakowski (photo by Barbara Lemecha)

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4. Our hotel, the Crowne Plaza

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5. A streetcar named Minneapolis

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6. Marcella Sembrich Kochanska Recital
(l. to. r.) Tom Payne, Alicia Dudka, Justine Izewski (vocalist), Seulgee Lee Nelson (accompanist),
Jaroslaw Golembiowski (Chair of Music Committee), Celia Larkin, Robert Synakowski

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7. (l. to r.) Jackie Kolowski, Barbara Lemecha, Celia Larkin at Minnehaha Falls

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8. (l. to r.) Tom Payne, Cecilia Glembocki, Matt Meleski at Minnehaha Falls Park

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9. (l. to r.) Ray Okonski, Barbara Lemecha, Jackie Kolowski, Cecilia Glembocki (standing), Herietta Nowakowski at the Polish Festival

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10. Folk Dancers at the Polish Festival in Minneapolis

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11. Celia and Ray Glembocki at the Polish Festival