The 2019 configuration of the abstract sculpture at the Armenian Heritage Park. (Matt Conti Photo, from the North End Waterfront)

Armenian Heritage Park: Meaningful Public Art, Reconfigured


By Steven Vilkas

BOSTON — In my article “In Appreciation Of Boston’s Armenian Heritage Park”, I began laying the foundations for why this place has quickly become one of my absolute favorite destinations for mindfulness practice, walking meditation, art appreciation, and simple relaxation. Much like the sculpture, which forms one half of what I consider to be a double-sided jewel (the other half being the labyrinth complete with a small bubbling fountain in its center), the park has come to represent many things to its many visitors. A playground for children running, dancing, and exploring the winding pathway becomes a different sort of romantic stroll for couples, seats for elders to soak up the sunshine and a place for busy professionals and travelers alike to take a much-needed break.

“Refuge”, “Oasis”, “Hidden Treasure”, are a few familiar keywords which my fellow greeters and visitors were using on Sunday afternoon following the early morning reconfiguration of the Abstract Sculpture, an annual tradition which helps to exhibit the message of “pulling apart and coming together” as part of the immigrant experience. Representatives from The Friends Of Christopher Columbus Park, The Eliot School (where I went as a child) and many supporters turned out to gather, plan a whole new year’s worth of events, and contemplate the significance of what the park has become. I have to admit that, at times, emotions welled up within me knowing that my late mother would have loved how much fantastic progress has taken place, and she would have joined in every effort to support its continued preservation.

Tsoleen Sarian has made being a greeter one of the principal highlights of recent years. Our shared devotion for the Park is joined to an affinity for Armenian history, culture, and contributions to society. She’s managed to organize our greeters so effectively, developing a program which ensures everyone who visits is not only made to feel welcome, but that engagement is always organic and comfortable by default. My fellow greeters, who I gratefully take plenty of cues from, help to continuously shape this story of coming together, sharing, and impacting the City of Boston as positively as possible.

I think back to my very first encounter with the group, which was for World Labyrinth Day long ago. It was a dreary, drizzly day, but the elements were braved and I was brave enough to make an introduction which would prove to be a watershed moment. Now I rarely walk the labyrinth alone, with new friendships and insights gained, and I have learned over an appreciable period how important it is for us to reach out to those around us and be present. We should also, always, be conscious of the importance of remembrance — of not only studying history but of protecting and learning from it to the best of our abilities as well.

I’ll close with this: Pythagoras tells us all the way from Antiquity: “There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.”. If you would make a visit to the park, undoubtedly you’d be able to hear and appreciate the sublime symphony of the concepts integrated as part of its essence. There are others who could express these concepts much more eloquently than I can, but the park invites and welcomes everyone, Archimedes and otherwise.

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(Steven Vilkas is co founder of S&S Consulting, a Boston-based firm dedicated to leadership development, and a North End resident. This article originally appeared on April 11 on the website Medium.)


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