THE POLISH CULTURAL INSTITUTE NEW YORK was founded in 2000. It is a diplomatic mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, operating in the area of public diplomacy. The PCI is one of 24 such institutes around the world. It is also an active member of the network of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in its New York cluster.
The Institute’s mission is to disseminate around the world comprehensive knowledge of Poland, Polish history and national heritage, as well as to promote Poland’s contemporary contributions to the success of world culture. The Institute does so through initiating, supporting and promoting collaboration between Poland and the United States in the areas of art, education, research and in many other aspects of intellectual and social life. The Institute’s main task to ensure Polish participation in the programming of America’s most important cultural institutions as well as in large international initiatives.
The Institute works with renowned cultural and academic centers and opinion leaders operating on the American market. Its main partners include such prestigious organizations as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Museum of Modern Art, PEN American Center, the Poetry Society of America, the National Gallery of Art, Yale University, Columbia University, Princeton University, the Harvard Film Archive, the CUNY Graduate Center, the Julliard School of Music, the New Museum, the Jewish Museum, La MaMa E.T.C. and many others. For more than fifteen years, it has presented Americans the achievements of outstanding Polish artists, including the filmmakers Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda and Jerzy Skolimowski; the writers Czeslaw Milosz, Adam Zagajewski and Wislawa Szymborska; the composers Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold Lutosławski and Mikołaj Gorecki; theater artists Krystian Lupa, Jerzy Grotowski and Tadeusz Kantor; the visual artists Krzysztof Wodiczko, Katarzyna Kozyra, Alina Szapocznikow and many other important figures in the arts. The Institute initiates and actively participates in debates around the humanities in the broad sense, including those concerning history and the today’s most important social and political occurrences.
Agata Grenda - Director
Agata Grenda has been the Director of the Polish Cultural Institute New York since September 2015.
In the years 2011-2015 she served as Director of the Department of Culture in the Marshal Office of the Wielkopolska Region in Poznan, overseeing the cultural institutions of Poland’s second-largest region. From 2006 to 2011, she was Deputy Director of the Polish Cultural Institute New York, also serving as theater and dance curator. She has many years of experience working in cultural management and has been involved in international projects in the field of culture for almost 15 years. She also taught cultural management at the Poznan School of Social Sciences. She studied Polish philology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, where she also earned a postgraduate degree in psychology in marketing and management. She is a licensed yoga teacher and a vegetarian.
Anna Domanska - Deputy Director
Anna Domanska has been the Deputy Director of the Polish Cultural Institute New York since November 2015.
Anna has been in the Polish diplomatic service for the past ten years. First she worked in the Department of the Americas and, in the years 2007-2010, was posted to Havana, Cuba as II Secretary for political, promotional and press issues. She then worked in the Department of Public and Cultural Diplomacy of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, serving as the Head of a Strategic Initiative Unit where she was responsible for several international promotional projects, including Poland’s 2015 global media PR campaign.
Before entering the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anna worked for market research agencies, organizing social and marketing studies and as a cultural journalist for Rzeczpospolita, of one of Poland’s largest dailies. She graduated both from Philosophy and American Studies at Warsaw University. She wrote one of her master’s theses on American literature. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
Anna Perzanowska – Music Programming
Anna Perzanowska has been Music Programmer at the Institute since January 2007.
Anna is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in ethnomusicology at the City University of New York at Hunter College. Music has been her passion since her very early years; she began her music education at the age of five at the Fryderyk Chopin Elementary Music School in Warsaw. After immigrating to New York at the age of 14, she continued her studies at the LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts. Upon attending music classes at Hunter College, Anna graduated from Baruch College with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing in 2003. In order to combine her interests, Anna worked with numerous New York institutions and musicians in preparation of concerts and various cultural events.
Sean Bye - Humanities Programming
Sean Bye has been Humanities Programmer at the Institute since February 2014.
Sean is a literary translator, actor and theater director. His translations of Polish fiction, drama and reportage have been published in magazines and journals such as Words Without Borders, Continents, and In Other Words, and his essays and commentary on literary translation have appeared in The Mantle, Translation Ireland and others. He is an artistic director of the London-based radio theater company Invisible Theater, for which he regularly acts, produces and translates.
Sean studied Polish, French, and German at University College London from 2005-2009, and received a Master's International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies in 2010. He won a competitive space on the 2013 British Centre for Literary Translation mentorship program and spent six months working with the award-winning Polish literary translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones. A native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Sean was based primarily in London from 2005 to 2014 before moving to New York to join the PCINY.
Tomek Smolarski – Film and Performing Arts Programming
Tomek Smolarski has been Film and Performing Arts Programmer at the Institute since January 2016
From 2001 to 2007, Tomek Smolarski served as Communications Officer and Music Curator at the Polish Cultural Institute New York. He left the PCINY to travel the world with a focus on his favorite place, India, where he spent almost a year. Upon his return to the US, he moved to California to work independently as a cultural manager presenting and producing concerts, films and theatrical performances throughout the US and Poland. His latest project was a theatrical production, a New York premiere of Trash Story, by a Polish playwright Magda Fertacz. He holds a master’s degree in history from the Silesian University in Katowice.
He practices Vipassana meditation and holistic living.
Lukasz Szalankiewicz - Special Projects Coordinator
Lukasz has been Special Projects Coordinator at the Institute since January 2016.
He holds a master’s degree in history from the Pedagogical University of Krakow. He is an electronic music performer, composer and sound artist. Lukasz is a member of the Polish Society for Electroacustic Music (PSeME) and the Polish Society for Contemporary Music (the Polish subsection of the ISCM). His formative artistic years began in the early 90s with an immersion in the demoscene —an early computer subculture based around transcending hardware limitations.
Lukasz has worked as an organizer on many festivals, including early Unsound Krakow, Moving Closer in Warsaw, Sound Around in Gdansk, MediaWave Sanok, and Transformator Lviv. Through his projects, Lukasz has been engaged in promoting his native Podkarpackie region. His interests include new media, computer games, Eastern Europe, the Middle East region and relationships with the Polish Diaspora.
Magdalena Mazurek-Nuovo - Communications Officer
Magdalena Mazurek-Nuovo has been Communications Officer at the Institute since April 2014.
Magda holds an M.A. in Polish Philology from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, and has completed a postgraduate program in teaching Polish as a foreign language at Marie Sklodowska-Curie University. For seven years she worked for the Kosciuszko Foundation, The American Center of Polish Culture (The KF). During that time the Foundation initiated and ran a successful Petition on German Concentration Camps, which resulted in banning misleading phrases such as "Polish concentration camp" in many American journalistic style guides. As the KF Director of Cultural Affairs Magda organized and ran a number of successful events and programs promoting Polish culture in US.
She has extensive knowledge of Polish cultural and historical organizations in the US, and successfully organized and ran the Jan Karski Educational Foundation’s fundraisers in Nov. 2013, and Nov. 2014. She holds a Certificate in Fundraising from NYU's Heyman Center for Philanthropy.
Izabela Gola - Assistant to the PCI Team
Izabela Gola has been the Assistant to the PCI team since January 2016.
Izabela worked as an art exhibitions coordinator for the cultural programming department of the French Institute Alliance Française in New York. Izabela’s role involved managing exhibition production logistics, as well as oversight and execution of art installations. Izabela also worked for the head registrar at MoMA PS1, where she contributed to creation of a new inventory and archive system of the permanent art collection.
Izabela is a visual artist specializing in multidisciplinary art environments, which employ video, sculpture, oil painting, and elements of interior design. She was recipient of the Kosciuszko Foundation Tuition Scholarship (2014) while enrolled in the Masters of Fine Arts program at Hunter College in New York. Izabela earned her MFA degree with concentration in Video Art and Combined Media in 2015.