BOSTON — Lucas Cowan, public art curator of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, spoke recently at a HUBweek event and had the following to say about the Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway: “Every day the Park is filled with families, children and adults…Just as the sculptural element changes yearly and is reconfigured…this place grants permission for contemplative thought, meditation and solace…”
So many are visiting, spending time at this “gem on the Greenway” (Boston Globe 2015). Some relax on a bench or read, and some enjoy lunch or share a moment with a friend or colleague. Many walk the labyrinth — a daily ritual to quiet the mind — and most marvel at the abstract sculpture, returning each year to view its newest sculptural shape, and all pause to read the inscription on the reflecting pool.
On Sunday, December 17, the annual Candlelit Labyrinth Peace Walk will wrap up a series of programs at the park for the year. All are invited to enjoy the sparkle of the park in the evening from 4:30 to 6 p.m., considered “Boston’s Newest Holiday Tradition” (Metro, 2015). Many will walk the candlelit labyrinth, some will tie a colorful ribbon with a wish on the Wishing Tree and all will enjoy hot chocolate and delicious cookies, hosted by the Bostonian Hotel. At 5:45 p.m., Ladies First, an a cappella group from Wellesley High School, will perform. Although there is no charge, an RSVP is appreciated by email hello@Armenian HeritagePark.org.
During the year, programs are varied and interesting to build community, to come together on common ground. Several programs are supported by one of the Park’s endowed funds; most all depend on generous gifts-in-kind. Some are featured programs during ArtWeek Boston and HubWeek. Most programs are offered in collaboration with leading organizations and institutions among them Age-Friendly Boston, The Bostonian Hotel, The Bostonian Society/Old State House, City of Boston, The Eliot K-8 Innovation School/Boston Public Schools, Faneuil Hall, Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, Greenway Conservancy, Hollister Staffing, Labyrinth Guild of New England, MEM Tea Imports, Museum of Fine Arts, NorthEndWaterfront.com, Sharon Merrill Associates, US District Court Massachusetts and Webster Bank. Friends of the Heritage Park, open to all, plan and implement many of the programs. The Friends is an initiative of the Armenian Heritage Foundation. Dedicated volunteers also oversee the Park’s care and the annual reconfiguration of the Abstract Sculpture.
Each new year begins with the annual reconfiguration of the abstract sculpture. Every year, during a Sunday morning in late March or early April, the sculpture, a split rhomboid dodecahedron, is reconfigured into a new sculptural shape, symbolic of all who were pulled away from their country of origin and came to these shores, establishing themselves in new and different ways. A crane lifts and reconfigures the two halves, made of steel and aluminum, under the direction of A&A Industries, fabricator of the abstract sculpture, their generous gift-in-kind. The park’s Charles and Doreen Bilezikian Endowed Fund supports the annual configuration.
During April, the annual April 24 Genocide Commemoration at the Park, planned by the Massachusetts Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee is a “remembrance that both honors and commemorates lives lost…and to reflect on the lessons it holds for our lives today.” Speakers included the Primate of the Armenian Diocese (Eastern) Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and performances by Sayat Nova Dance Company and violinist Sammy Andonian.