Hitting the Right Chord
Annual Scholarship Reception and Tea labeled a fabulous success

More than 150 people enjoyed the Polish Arts Club of Youngstown's 74th Annual Scholarship, Art, Music and Tea Reception. Held on February 21, 2010 at the Butler Institute of American Art Butler North Community Performance Space, the event attracted not just members, but a substantial number of other Mahoning Valley residents.
What was of particular note was the substantial interaction between guests and the artists this year. The set-up of the pews almost seemed like a salon setting; very comfortable and conducive to small group conversations.

As always, pianist Edward Bak was far more than amazing! A professor at the Ohio State University School of Music and the principal coach at Opera Columbus, Bak is the son of member Dr. Ed Bak and had gifted the group with performances in the past. However, this time he outdid himself. The audience undoubtedly got shivers listening to his performance and his outstanding presentation of the Chopin pieces. The selections were played at the PAC's tribute to the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth this year. In fact, many were moved to tears. I'm sure Chopin would have been equally as proud and admiring of his great talent!

Our creative artists certainly shone as well. Martyna Matusiak, PolishYoungstown's new Polish language instructor, is Polish-born visual artist born in Poland who specializing in hand-drawing animation reflecting the black and gray of the industrial cities of her birth and current Pittsburgh residence.

Local artist Berni Koczwara has been oil painting for 30 years, with a favorite theme of turn-of-the-century homes and winter scenes. Her paintings feature horses, sleighs, and other winter activities based on memories from childhood here in the Western Reserve.

Dr. Lou Zona, director of the Butler, was very impressed along with all those in attendance and even expressed an interest I working with Matusiak on her own show in the main museum's new digital art gallery.

Scholarship Chairs Lisa Lotze and Florence Swierz did a great job of allocating the more than $2500 in monetary awards to the third- and fourth-year college and post-graduate students. They were charged with not only the tough job of recruiting and reviewing the applications, but also working throughout the year to assure that general economic upheaval does not negatively impact the club's scholarship savings.

"We're delighted to again sponsor the scholarship program and urge all Mahoning Valley students of Polish descent to apply," said Mary Anne Mylnarski, PAC president. "Poles have a proud history of academics, scientists and artists. These include Chopin, Madam Curie and Copernicus to name a few. Our scholarship program is one way to spotlight and encourage the most promising of our heritage's next generation."

This year's recipients were:

The Kryzan-Swierz Memorial Scholarship
University Of Cincinnati School of Medicine, Medical Doctor

The Reverend W. S. Kopiczenski Memorial Scholarship
Kent State University, Visual Communications Design

The Frances and Joseph Servenack Memorial Scholarship
Duquesne University, Pharmacy

The Polish Arts Scholarship
Parsons Design School, Design and Management

The Polish Arts Scholarship
Muskingum College, Criminal Justice

Special thanks go out to Marianne Poprik, event chair, and Alexandria Copich program chair, for all their hard work. Copich's reviewed the artist's artwork and biographies and organized the program. Her input on the history of the Club was very helpful, too. So many people commented on the interesting roots of the club that were previously unknown to them.

Poprik organized a hard-working crew who plated a plethora of scrumptious cookies, served tea accompanied by wine and brandy from gorgeous formal silver tea sets and created a simply wonderful presentation.

We look with anticipation to next year's diamond jubilee event!