SACRAMENTO — Following Saturday’s successful meeting and review of the Armenian American Museum by his policy director, Governor Gavin Newsom has included $5 million dollars for the Armenian American Museum in his May revise 2019-2020 budget. The meeting and visit with the museum’s Board of Directors was initiated by Senator Anthony J. Portantino, (D–La Cañada Flintridge), with the hope of sharing the museum’s vision directly with the Governor’s office. In an apparent positive outcome, the Governor’s proposed budget seeks to increase the California’s investment in the museum to $8 million dollars. In his first term, Senator Portantino requested $3 million for the museum and has continued his ardent legislative advocacy for the project.
“I’m ecstatic and extremely thankful to Governor Newsom and Policy Director Anthony Williams for recognizing the overwhelming merit and momentum behind this amazing museum. The Governor’s generous offer to help the museum is a clear recognition of the importance of the project to the State of California,” commented Senator Portantino.
The Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center of California is in the heart of Glendale, CA with a mission to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Armenian American experience. The Museum will serve as a cultural campus that enriches the community, educates the public on the Armenian American story, and empowers individuals to embrace cultural diversity and speak out against prejudice.
“The museum board was very pleased and honored to welcome Mr. Williams to Glendale on Saturday and we are very thankful to Governor Newsom for validating our effort by increasing the State’s investment to further our efforts. This is wonderful news for our community and the State of California. We are again grateful to Senator Portantino for helping us share our vision for the museum directly with the Governor’s office and the Governor for responding so positively to what we are endeavoring to do,” concluded Shant Sahakian, Executive Director Armenian American Museum.
Ten Armenian American cultural, philanthropic, and religious non-profit institutions are represented on the museum’s board. They include the Armenian Catholic Eparchy, Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Armenian General Benevolent Union Western District, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Relief Society Western USA, Nor Or Charitable Foundation, Nor Serount Cultural Association, Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, and Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The city of Glendale has leased the proposed location for the museum for a nominal 99-year lease.
“The City Council was eager to help bring this museum to fruition. We can’t thank the Governor enough for recognizing and grasping the importance of this effort and stepping up with additional funds to make it a reality,” concluded Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian.
The Governor’s May revised budget will be reviewed by both houses of the legislature before the mid-June constitutional deadline for passage. Generally, the Governor’s budget priorities successfully make it through that process. Today’s action is a very positive step for the museum.