Click here
to read about the Artworks Armenia Project.

Click here to see a visit to Gyumri Aesthetic Center on June 11, 2005

Click here for highlights of the opening night festivities.

Tamara and her mom, Daphne with one of the show’s framed paintings.

Help On the Way

Melinda & Tamara
CW art curator, Melinda Johnson, and Tamara Shahabian

The logistics of staging the Children of Gyumri art show presented some fairly daunting challenges, not the least of which was transporting the 46 fragile works of kid art the 12,000 miles from Gyumri to California.

Fortunately the show was aided at every step by enthusiastic and generous friends. The actual physical delivery of the pieces was carried out by Edele Hovnanian, the chairperson and chief benefactor of Birthright Armenia. She was visiting Armenia and after hearing the idea for the show volunteered to bring the art back herself.

She brought the unframed pieces in her luggage to Tamara who was by then back at graduate school in New York City. Tamara then brought them with her to Sacramento at Christmas break. Remarkably, all of the pieces survived their journey in perfect condition.

While this was going on, back in Sacramento John had presented the idea of the show to the Coffee Works’ art curator, Melinda Johnson, who also loved the idea and instantly volunteered her professional assistance. In one of many small world coincidences, Melinda Johnson had been an elementary school art teacher in Sacramento and had Tamara as a student. This show would be an opportunity for teacher and former student to collaborate on an art project.

Melinda and Tamara framing for the show.
Melinda and Tamara framing for the show.

Melinda took responsibility for framing all 46 pieces, acquiring the best archival framing supplies and working with Tamara and Daphne Shahabian to give each piece the optimal framing. After helping to frame the pieces, Melinda designed the lay-out of the show and recruited volunteers to help with the hanging. It was a tremendous amount of work and Melinda’s contribution allowed all of the money raised from the show to go directly to the school.

The Children of Gyumri show owes its success to these and many other generous donors of talent and resources, without whom it could not have happened.