As you well know October is Polish Heritage Month and we are delighted to recognize some of the programs and groups that have helped sustain and grow the Polish American culture. Polish language classes, Polish scouts, dance groups and camps, and Fraternal Organizations, not only give us pride in our heritage but give new generations an understanding of their past. It is with these activities in mind that we not only celebrate Polish Heritage Month but that we share with you Piast Institute’s exciting plans for future growth of Polonia.
With your help we are about to launch a Capital Campaign, our first since acquiring this building in 2008, to renovate three areas of our building to support and grow our programs and give the youth and community a safe and welcoming place to gather. This effort will be in three phases.
The first phase involves the renovation of our current conference room, where we have traditionally held all of our events, including lectures, seminars, community meetings and dignitary and consular visits. In light of Covid-19 we believe this will allow us to accommodate different needs and offer safe distancing, and additional technology giving the Piast Institute and the community the opportunity to have a multipurpose space for individual or group activities. Changes would include new technology, a new floor, and ADA compliant furnishings that can be reconfigured and disinfected easily.
The second phase of our campaign involves renovating an unused portion in the back of our building which was originally used as a garage. We would be maintaining the original brick walls while adding utilities and equipment. This would allow us a second space with a café atmosphere for artists to display, music to be heard and community groups to gather. We would be excited to bring in emerging Polish American artists, poets, musicians and writers to display and share their work. Piast has been promoting the arts and culture of Polonia for years but has lacked the space needed to truly highlight these programs.
The third phase of this renovation involves preserving and protecting our archives. For many months now we have been blessed with a college intern that has begun the arduous task of sorting and cataloguing the papers, artifacts, and rare books that were Dr. Thaddeus C. Radzilowski’s legacy which is housed on the second floor of our building. The archives also contain extensive materials from the libraries of Dr. Edward Martin, Mr. Bruno Nowicki, Mr. Stanley Nowak, Mr. Joseph Kalenkiewicz and the Pieronek family. Unfortunately, this space is in desperate need of repair and updating. It is our goal to make it a useable space for historians and students who want to do research. Though the structure is solid, it has not been updated since 1958 and needs new walls and mechanics. We are most concerned about preserving the historical documents, housing them in a controlled environment, and making them accessible to a new generation of learners.
We believe that this Capital Campaign will give us the opportunity to support the groups and organizations that are the pillars of our heritage as well as grow our youth involvement in the community. Polish Americans have a rich culture that needs to be shared. It is important that we have a place that says “come in, so we might share and learn together” and Build a New Polonia for the 21st Century.
We hope that you will support this campaign financially and join us in preserving the heritage that our parents and grandparents loved and cherished. If you would like to view more details of our plans, please call our office and schedule a visit.