5th grader work, Armenian dance, Mount Ararat

Saryan Meets Gorky in Art of Students at St. Stephen’s Armenian School


WATERTOWN — At the end of each academic year, St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES) arranges an exhibition to showcase the artwork that their students have created. This year’s show, on Friday, June 17, displayed works from students in kindergarten through fifth grade with themes and styles chosen under the guidance of their teacher, interdisciplinary artist from Armenia Arevik Tserunyan.

Works by 4th graders. Still-life inspired by Martiros Saryan, bridge with water lilies, inspired by Monet

Tserunyan’s mission as an art teacher is to be an “ambassador” of Armenian culture for the students, who are far from their homeland and roots. She believes that skills and traditions that get passed down to the next generation are the vital components that form a national identity.

“Visual arts and crafts as well as handmade creations that beautify our world are in the DNA of all Armenians. There is nothing more rewarding than keeping these traditions alive among the young generations in the Armenian diaspora,” said Tserunyan.

The themes from this year’s show varied dramatically from illustrating scenes in nature to designing Armenian carpet patterns.

Works of 4th graders. Armenian carpet, Water lilies, Aquarium.

The highlights of the show were Armenian nature and colors inspired by Martiros Saryan, Armenian dances, carpets, abstract paintings inspired by Arshile Gorky, and clay works inspired by the traditions of Armenian pottery making. In the curriculum, students learned about the importance of colors in Armenian painting and landscape, various drawing styles, as well as painting and mixed- media techniques. They were also introduced to several art movements like Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism.

Students were fascinated and immensely inspired by the abundance of ideas, techniques and changes these movements brought to this world.

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