The Polish Arts Club of Youngstown host its 76th Annual Scholarship Art, Music & Tea Reception on Sunday, February 19, 2012.

This year the Club hosted world-renowned colorist, Julian Stanczak. His talent is visible in the art on the walls at the museum, but when he was interviewed by Dr. Lou Zona, it was his humor, charm and spirit that made the biggest impression. Stanczak shared stories of his youthful struggles in Poland and the war, but also inspirationally on his current age-related challenging of expressing his art before he can no longer do so. What an intimate and personal experience it was for us.

In joint celebration with the Polish Congress of the 200th anniversary of the birth of, Jozef Ignacy Kraszewski, one of the prolific Polish novelist and poet's most popular pieces was highlighted. Dziad i Baba (The Old Man and the Old Woman), is about two soul-mates struggling with fears of death and loneliness at the end of their happily- ever- after story. So that we might enjoy the poetic fable as the author intended, we heard it recited; first in Polish by Stanley Gerchak followed in English by Angela Messenger. The accomplished readings seemed to give a taste of the back and forth conversation between the elderly love birds.

Musical selections were then provided by accomplished vocalist Dr. Joanne Uniatowski, chair of the Voice Department at Baldwin-Wallace College. A mezzo-soprano who started out in the Polonia Folk Song and Dacne Ensemlble at Krakusy Hall, Uniatowski worked magic with Chopin, Karlowicz and even some of our beloved folk songs.


The group presented four $500 scholarships to college students this year. The awardees were Joseph John Cvengros (University of Toledo, Exercise Science:Pre-Physical Therapy); Kurt Michael Lesnansky (Youngstown State University, Dietetic Technologist); Melanie Marie Perello (Westminster College-Biology) and Caleb Archie Wright (Youngstown State University, History/Integrated Social Studies Education).

After snacking on delicious homemade cookies and truffles, we retired to the Zona Auditorium to enjoy experience the classic Kraszewski fable in a modern way: Award-winning independent filmmaker Basia Goszczynska shared with us her newly released stop-motion short, Dziad i Baba. Unavailable to attend in person, this young Polish-Canadian has created a special supplementary video in which she discusses her motivation and process.