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Marcella (Poplin) Swartz
December 12, 1927 ~ February 11, 2018 (age 90)
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Marcella Poplin Swartz passed away in the early hours of Sunday, February 11, 2018. She departed peacefully at home, with family members present. She was 90.
Marcella, known as Marcy, was an award-winning arts educator, artist, community leader, and gallerist whose contributions to Greater Binghamton’s cultural life spanned a half-century. She was a Board Vice President-Education of the Roberson Museum and Science Center, where she once taught art classes at the Young People’s Art Center. She was also Board Vice President of The Art Mission and a former board member of the Broome County Arts Council. She was a member of the committee that founded The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier and later became a member of its board of directors. For seventeen years, she was an Executive Director of Binghamton Imagination Celebration, an outreach arts-in-education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Under her leadership, Binghamton Imagination Celebration created Sundays in the Parks arts programs, a Downtown Family Festival, and partnered with schools to create a residency program that brought dozens of artists into local classrooms in the 1980s. She was honored when the New York State Invention Convention named an annual scholarship, The Marcella Swartz Scholarship for Innovative Teaching, in her honor. As an arts educator, she taught at The Susquehanna School and SUNY Broome, and taught graduate courses at Binghamton University. In 2008, she founded The Gallery at Riverside Towers, which she ran until December 2017.
Her community involvement included Binghamton’s Commission on Architecture and Urban Design, Temple Concord Board of Trustees, and the City of Binghamton Bicentennial Committee. Her list of honors included the Phoenix Award from Citizen Action, and awards from the New York State Alliance for Arts Education/The Kennedy Center, and the New York State Art Teachers Association.
Marcella Swartz was born in Scranton in 1927, to Harry and Lillian Poplin, who immigrated to the United States from Russia. She graduated from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia in 1950. She was married to editor and publisher Bernard M. Swartz from 1952 until Bernard’s death in 2008. She is survived by sons Michael and Steven, their spouses Suzanne and Kristi, and three grandchildren, Jacques, Amira, and Sivan.
A service will be held at Temple Concord on Tuesday, February 13 at 11 am; visitors are welcome from 9:30 am - 11:00 am. Interment will follow at the Dalton/Scranton Jewish Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Marcy has requested that donations be made to Temple Concord and The Roberson Museum and Science Center.
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