From its inception, Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center The project in Glendale has drawn a lot of support from local residents, public officials – and the business community.
For many of those business owners, the reason is personal, a classic American story of giving back to the community that has allowed them to lead successful lives after immigrating here. Ron Arkelian IIIowning to Athens Services In the city of industry, he said he was motivated to become a major donor to the project “to ensure the legacy of our collective families’ history is preserved.”
“We are Armenian by origin and we have been supporters of the Armenian cause,” he said. “It was a really interesting, important project and as a business family so entrenched in the Los Angeles area, it seemed like a really good opportunity to jump in.”
After breaking ground in 2021, the museum is set to open its doors in 2025. Its planners hope it will become a signature museum space in Los Angeles County, home to a living history of the Armenian diaspora and other local communities who want to exhibit or have exhibits about their cultures there.
“It is exciting to see the entire community come together to support a project that is primarily intended for education, cultural enrichment, but also recognizes the significant impact it will have on the local community, Glendale businesses and quality of life,” Said quiet companion, executive director of the museum. “The business community is one of the key partners has stepped up and provided support financially, but also in terms of spreading the word and raising awareness for the project.
an easy sell
When he received a mail in 2018 about the then-potential museum and inquired further about it, Kevonian said it was an easy sell.
Among the Armenian diaspora around the world, a large number live here in the United States. and California, especially Southern California, where they have become most influential.
“America has been great to our family. It’s a lot of hard work and perseverance, but they call America the land of opportunity,” Arakelian said. “To come here from an immigrant 100 years later to actually be able to support a museum with just a shirt on his back that honors the heritage of the Armenian American community, feels good.”
Arkelians are among important donors among the business community and will have naming rights to the main entrance plaza. Arkelion also serves on the Museum’s Board of Governors.
Other business-affiliated donors include Valencia-based Armen Living as well as Auntie Kabobs restaurant chain and Pacific BMW The dealers are both located in Glendale.
Sahakian said it has been helpful for the development of the project to garner support from local entrepreneurs, who can be influential.
Of the $35 million construction budget, $19.6 million came through state funding after successful lobbying efforts by state Sen. Anthony PortantinoLegislator Laura Friedman and then-member of the assembly Adrien Nazarian, Los Angeles County Government Kicks In $1 Million Courtesy of Supervisor Catherine Bergerand members of Congress Adam Schiff Received $950,000 in federal funding.
The rest has come from fundraising and donations — and one business opens the door for others, Sahakian said.
“It has a huge impact because what it does is it helps other members of the business community and other leaders to help contribute to realizing this vision of a cultural center in the community,” he said. “Certainly, the Armenian American community is playing an important role in promoting the project, but we have a number of businesses that have a significant number of employees of Armenian descent. We also have a number of businesses here that believe that many of their customers are Armenian and are looking for ways to support that community.
Phase one of the museum’s construction – what will essentially be the underground portion – is complete. Now, work will move upstairs, where a two-story and 50,820-square-foot museum space will be built on Colorado Street at the edge of downtown. General contractor is Irwindale-based PNG builders and lead architect is Glendale-based Alajajian Markosi Architects,
importance of armenia
The facility will feature permanent and temporary exhibition space as well as an archives center, auditorium and demonstration kitchen. While much of the education and news coverage on Armenia and the Armenian people pertains to the genocide perpetrated on them by the Ottoman Empire during World War I, this museum promises to paint the full picture – it is the first nation to adopt Christianity, it Its involvement with the Silk Road and Crusades and how the diaspora integrated with their new communities.
“Of course, you have genocide, which is a very unfortunate part of our history,” said gavik baghdasaryanco-owner of Masis Kabob, “but they are focused on the present, what Armenians have accomplished in this country, how they have become Americans and benefited from this country and this nation.”
The United States shines as a special beacon for many in the Armenian diaspora, in many respects for its relative stability as a refuge. Other nations that have historically held pockets of Armenians – Iran, Lebanon, Syria – have experienced periodic instability that has created a new stream of refugees. For example, Armen Living President Kevin kewonianHis wife’s family immigrated here in 1975 during the Lebanese Civil War, and during the so-called Dirty War with Argentina.
“We are spread all over the world, but half of the Armenians had their own upheavals in the countries. Many of us were forced to relocate again,” Kevonian said. “America has been able to bring us all together and I think the museum unites us even more.”
For local Armenian families, the museum exhibits are not necessarily new or different to them. Rather, it would be a way for others to learn about Armenian history and, through its temporal locations, even a way for other groups to trace their own histories.
However, it can also be a draw for those still living in Armenia or other countries. Sahakian said people constantly reach out from overseas to inquire about the museum, which he hopes will be “as part of their visit” whenever they are here with family or as tourists. I will travel
“We know there are a lot of people who are itching for the day that we are open and can start welcoming people in,” he said.
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