The Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center of California announced the launch of the new Elevate Campaign at the sold out Elevate Gala on Sunday, March 19, 2023. The signature event of the year welcomed a capacity audience of donors, supporters, public officials, and guests at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. The Elevate Gala raised $7 million in support of the Armenian American Museum through sponsorships, ticket sales, donations, and gift announcements.

The Elevate Gala kicked off with heartwarming and comedic welcoming remarks from the internationally acclaimed and award-winning entertainer Kev Orkian who served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

The National Anthems were performed by the renowned Soprano Mariné Ter-Kazaryan.

The Invocation was conducted by Primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Minister of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America Reverend Hendrik Shanazarian, and Representative of the Armenian Catholic Eparchy of the United States and Canada Monsignor Parsegh Baghdassarian.

“The vision of the Armenian American Museum has infused in our spiritual and national life a most precious milestone which has unified us to justify the legacy of the Martyred Saints of the first Genocide of the 20th Century,” stated Board of Trustees Co-Chair Archbishop Hovnan Derderian in his remarks on behalf of the Board of Trustees. “Tonight’s Gala is another step forward to mobilize our efforts and send to the community a new level of hope, resilience, and commitment to serve this country and our ancestral land of Armenia.”

Elevate Gala Chair Diana Timuryan thanked the sponsors who generously supported the event and the Elevate Gala Committee members who contributed their time to help organize the event with the museum team.

Major Sponsors included Rima & Donnell Cameron, Armen & Gloria Hampar Family Foundation, Avadis & Nancy Tevanian, Jack & Zarig Youredjian, Ayvazian Family Foundation, The GASKA Alliance Foundation, Anonymous, Dr. Vicken & Sossy Aharonian, Ron & Kourtni Arakelian, Bank of America, Gregory & Gina Felikian, Steve & Sandi Hampar, Nabil & Hanan Karabetian, Berdj & Mary Karapetian, Matthew & Audrey Matoesian, William McMorrow, Nora Tertzag Hampar Charitable Trust Ara & Nina Ohanian, Sarkis & Nune Sepetjian, and Isaac & Frieda Vartanian.

The Elevate Gala Committee members included Mayda Altounian, Alvard Barseghian, Angela Bedoyan, Ani Bekarian, Araxie Boyamian, Garine Depoyan, Hilda Fidanian, Aida Gharakhani, Marie Jeanne Harmandayan, Natalie Hariri, Christine Hovnanian, Tanya Kalaydjian, Maro Kasparian, Dr. Alexia Kevonian, Erika Toriz-Kurkjian, Carmen Libaridian, Margaret Mgrublian, Narine Mouradian, Aleen Orucakciel, Dzovig Zetlian, and Elizabeth Zoryan.

Senator Anthony J. Portantino delivered remarks on behalf of the State of California, who has invested $19.6 million to support the historic project including a new $9.8 million grant in the 2022-2023 State Budget that was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Executive Director Shant Sahakian celebrated the Groundbreaking Campaign that helped the museum reach the historic groundbreaking of the cultural and educational center in Summer 2021 and successfully complete the first phase of construction featuring the museum parking garage and building foundation in November 2022. He announced the launch of the Elevate Campaign to set sights on the next major milestone of the project as the landmark center is elevated to the horizon as a destination for education, enrichment, and inspiration for generations to come.

“In the education world, we talk a great deal about the concept of windows and mirrors,” stated Executive Director Shant Sahakian in his message on behalf of the Armenian American Museum. “That if we want our children and our young people to thrive – they need mirrors. They need to be able to see themselves in the books they read, in the films they watch, in the stories they hear, and yes – in the museums they visit. They also need windows – that allow them to peek into the past to discover their roots, transport themselves into places that they have never been before, learn about cultures that are not their own, and in doing so, learn more about themselves and everyone around them.”

Ara Dance Studio delivered an uplifting dance performance dedicated to the Armenian American Museum.

Master of Ceremonies Kev Orkian delivered a powerful musical performance on the piano with a self-written piece called “Freedom.”

Mayor Ardy Kassakhian delivered remarks on behalf of the City of Glendale, who has dedicated a premier location for the historic project in Central Park, where the museum campus will be going through a major expansion with the creation of a new central lawn, outdoor amphitheater, children’s park, and much more.

Board of Trustees Member Dr. Nazareth Darakjian representing the Armenian Missionary Association of America and Board of Trustees Member Vicky Marashlian representing the Armenian Relief Society Western USA presented the Park Entrance Plaza recognition. The Park Entrance Plaza will serve as the main entrance for visitors through Central Park, greeting patrons as they are welcomed to an immersive and impactful experience at the Armenian American Museum. The presenters announced that the Park Entrance Plaza will be sponsored by the Armen and Gloria Hampar Family Foundation in honor of the foundation’s generous gift to the museum.

Board of Trustees Co-Treasurer Avedik Izmirlian representing the Armenian Cultural Foundation and Board of Trustees Representative Dr. Raffi Balian representing the Nor Or Charitable Foundation presented the Grand Elevator recognition. The Grand Elevator will elevate guests between the first level and upper levels of the museum with an unfettered view of the inspiring Grand Lobby on the first level and the beautiful Hazarashen Skylight rising to the sky. The presenters announced that the Grand Elevator will be sponsored by Rima and Donnell Cameron in honor of the family’s generous gift in the beloved memory of Rouzas and Janet Khoylian.

Board of Trustees Co-Treasurer Talin Yacoubian representing Armenian General Benevolent Union Western Region and Board of Trustees Member Garbiel Moloyan representing Nor Serount Cultural Association presented the Demonstration Kitchen recognition. The Demonstration Kitchen will provide a one-of-a-kind learning experience for patrons with a wide array of culinary opportunities including cooking presentations, cooking courses, and food-centered social events. The presenters announced that the Demonstration Kitchen will be sponsored by Avie and Nancy Tevanian in honor of the family’s generous gift to the museum.

Executive Chairman Berdj Karapetian presented Master of Ceremonies Kev Orkian with a special Armenian American Museum Golden Pin in recognition of his impactful support of the Armenian American Museum and the Elevate Gala.

Executive Vice Chairman Zaven Kazazian introduced the Honorable Michael Amerian, Trustee with the George Ignatius Foundation, to make a special surprise announcement at the grand finale of the event. Joined by fellow Trustees George Phillips, Sr. and Honorable Walter J. Karabian, he announced that the George Ignatius Foundation will be contributing $1 million in support the Armenian American Museum, an announcement that was greeted with a roaring applause by the capacity audience. The George Ignatius Foundation is a non-profit organization which has generously supported several charitable causes promoting Armenian history, culture, and religion since 1976.

“Together, we are going to elevate the Armenian American Museum, we are going to elevate the community, and we are going to elevate the future,” stated Executive Chairman Berdj Karapetian in his closing remarks for the successful event.

The Armenian American Museum is a world class educational and cultural institution that is currently under construction in the museum campus at Glendale Central Park. The museum will offer a wide range of public programming through the Permanent Exhibition, Temporary Exhibitions, Auditorium, Learning Center, Demonstration Kitchen, Archives Center, and more.

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