90th Anniversary Mural Showcases a Symbolic Tribute to the BMNECC
The 90th Anniversary Mural was commissioned in December 2019, completed in May 2020 and will be unveiled during the Gala Celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the Bulgarian Macedonian National Educational and Cultural Center.
The vision for the mural is a symbolic and geographic representation of Bulgaria and Macedonia and its rich culture and traditions. It is also a tribute to the immigration of our ancestors from Bulgaria and Macedonia and other countries of Europe from the early 1900s through present day. These immigrants carried and instilled their values, culture, religion and sense of family to America and settled in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania whose topography was similar to their homeland.
In 1930, Lambe Markoff, an immigrant from Macedonia, became the founder and first president of the Bulgarian Macedonian Beneficial Association, the forerunner of the BMNECC. Our mission, never political, is to preserve, present, and promote the cultural values and rich traditions of the Bulgarian and Macedonian people; offer a comprehensive source of Bulgarian and Macedonian historic and educational information; and contribute to the cultural landscape by presenting unique artistic events and performances.
Today, the BMNECC is a thriving organization successfully fulfilling its mission on an ongoing basis. We maintain an energetic and forward-thinking board of directors, have increased membership and renewed our commitment to education via our accredited Bulgarian School, and have expanded community participation throughout Western Pennsylvania and beyond with our many cultural offerings.
This mural is a testimony to our organization: our founders and benefactors, our community constituencies and our members from all ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.
The dancers in the mural are 10 current members of the BMNECC and performers in our Otets Paissii Performing Folk Ensemble, the oldest continuously performing Bulgarian/Macedonian folk ensemble in the United States. Each dancer adorns a different costume from our expansive wardrobe of original costumes housed in our Center. The costumes are representative of the different ethnic regions including Shop, Drobudja, Thrace, Rhodope, northern Macedonia, and Pirin.
Artist Jennifer Rempel was commissioned to paint this 12 x 22-foot mural, which now graces the wall behind our recently remodeled stage. It serves as a vibrant and culturally significant addition to the beautification of our social hall. Visit her website at JenniferRempel.com.