The Kevorkian-Bogdasarian Family, St. Louis, Missouri, 1885. Courtesy of Souren Stevens. Project Save

Project Save Photograph Archives Announces Move and JumpStart Campaign


BOSTON — Project Save Photograph Archives announced this week a major move to a new space this summer. The new location — 600 Pleasant Street in Watertown — will feature an exhibition gallery and larger office space.

When its doors open this fall, Project Save will be one of the few hubs for photography not just in the Boston area but in the entire region, featuring exhibitions from the archives, various workshops and lectures, as well as exhibits of contemporary photographers.

The move represents a significant milestone and comes less than two years under the leadership of the new executive director, Dr. Arto Vaun, who has brought a fresh perspective and transformative vision to Project Save. Vaun’s commitment to elevating Project Save’s profile and highlighting its true value has already produced a wider impact and attracted a larger audience.

Through initiatives such as the annual Artist and Research Residency, the Conversations on Photography series, and interactive new website, Project Save has launched a bold new vision to claim its rightful place in the national and international field of photographic cultural work.

Founded in 1975 by Ruth Thomasian, Project Save Photograph Archives is a groundbreaking nonprofit that champions photography as a means of preserving and sharing the global Armenian experience and social history in general. Its collection spans over 80,000 hardcopy original photographs from around the globe, making Project Save the oldest and largest such archive in the world.

According to Vaun, “We’re living in a time when once again there are forces actively trying to rewrite history and erase any traces of Armenian culture. There’s no clearer, more powerful and direct evidence to counter such attempts than photographs.”

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In the past year, Vaun has also built a new Advisory Board with experts from premiere institutions such as the Getty Museum, the Smithsonian, Harvard, the Library of Congress, Boston Public Library, and Oxford. The members range from curators and archivists to scholars and acclaimed photographers and artists.

“The fact that such successful professionals who are non-Armenian have enthusiastically joined our board tells me that Project Save has great potential that’s beyond just the Armenian world,” Vaun said. “It also reaffirms the fact that Project Save’s legacy is extremely unique, important, and must be secured for future generations.”

According to Vaun, the upcoming move is part of a larger plan for growth. “Our 50th anniversary in 2025 will be a major milestone. The goal is for Project Save to secure its own permanent building in the next five years. It would further solidify Project Save’s identity as one of the few important photographic archives and museums in North America, and one of the most vital organizations dedicated to social history and the global Armenian experience.”

Project Save has launched the JumpStart campaign to rally investors around its new vision and plan. “Amazingly, we’re like a 48-year-old startup,” said Vaun. “The product is already built, unique, and strong. It has incredible potential and wide appeal. But there’s never been the proper kind of investment to realize that potential. So this is a very exciting and rare opportunity not only for our organization but for all those who care about introducing a wider demographic to Armenian culture and history.”

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Topics: Project Save
People: Arto Vaun
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