Actor Michael A. Goorjian, center, receives an award for his work, as he is flanked by organizers.

At Sold Out Gala Armenian American Museum Honors Actor Goorjian

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GLENDALE — The Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center of California hosted the highly anticipated Horizon Gala on Saturday, May 11. The signature annual event, which supports the developing institution, drew a full house of supporters to the prestigious InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown.

The evening commenced with welcoming remarks by Master of Ceremonies Talin Yacoubian, who serves as the Board of Trustees co-treasurer for the museum representing Armenian General Benevolent Union Western Region.

“Let’s raise a glass to how far we have come and the glorious future that is waiting for us,” stated Yacoubian. “Together, let’s keep fueling this dream and watching it blossom into something truly extraordinary — a beacon of inspiration for generations to come. Cheers to our museum in making.”

Master of Ceremonies Talin Yacoubian

The Horizon Award was presented to Michael A. Goorjian, an accomplished Armenian-American director, writer, and actor. He has starred in many films and television series with notable roles in “Leaving Las Vegas,” “SLC Punk,” “Party of Five,” “Illusion” and more. He won an Emmy Award for his role in the television movie “David’s Mother.” Most recently, Goorjian earned widespread acclaim as the director, writer and lead actor of “Amerikatsi,” a film of tremendous spirit and hope. In a historic first for Armenia, “Amerikatsi” was shortlisted in the category of  Best International Film by the Academy Awards.

Board of Trustees representatives Zaven Khanjian representing the Armenian Missionary Association of America, Vicky Marashlian representing the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, Garo Kupelian representing Nor Or Charitable Foundation, and Krikor Moloyan representing Nor Serount Cultural Association joined together on the stage to present the Horizon Award to the honoree of the evening.

“Michael A. Goorjian has beautifully captured the spirit of the Armenian people and homeland in ‘Amerikatsi’ and helped the community reach new heights through his contributions in film and television,” stated Board of Trustees representative Zaven Khanjian during his introduction of the honoree.

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“You are building the Armenian American Museum for that kid that is going to show up in the museum struggling to find their story and they are going to be able to find it in the space that you have created for them,” stated Goorjian during his heartfelt acceptance remarks, discussing the impact museums have had on his own life. He dedicated the award to his late father.

Executive Chairman Berdj Karapetian invited representatives of the Board of Trustees, Board of Governors, and Staff to join him on stage for a special announcement at the conclusion of the program. He announced that a generous anonymous donor has made a transformative commitment to the museum through an $8 million gift. The program concluded with a roaring applause following the announcement.

The national anthems were performed by renowned singer Alene Aroustamian.

Religious leaders speak, including Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, center

The Invocation was conducted by Board of Trustees Co-Chairs Archbishop Hovnan Derderian representing the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, Archbishop Kegham Khatcherian representing the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, Rev. Hendrik Shanazarian representing the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, and Bishop Mikael Mouradian representing the Armenian Catholic Eparchy of the United States and Canada.

The Message of the Museum was delivered by Horizon Gala Chair Avedik Izmirlian, who serves as the Board of Trustees Co-Treasurer for the museum representing Armenian Cultural Foundation.

“Your support of the Armenian American Museum can make an impact in the life of future generations,” stated Izmirlian. “The spirit that united us in this unprecedented venture is vital to our community because it enhances our collective achievements and makes it possible to carry out our dreams.”

Kev Orkian

Next, the museum presented the world premiere of a special music and dance video project featuring an original musical score written for the museum called “Hope Rising.” Following the video premiere, Gevorkian Dance Academy made a grand entrance into the ballroom and delivered a crowd-pleasing live dance performance.

The evening featured a comedy performance by award-winning entertainer Kev Orkian, who had traveled from London for the occasion.

Mayor Elen Asatryan delivered remarks reaffirming the City of Glendale’s commitment to the museum project and expressing her excitement for the future museum campus at Glendale Central Park that will feature a new central lawn, outdoor amphitheater, and children’s park to serve museum patrons and the general public.

The evening was capped off with socializing, dancing, and celebration at a special post-reception for attendees featuring a DJ, cigar lounge, and cognac bar.

Members of the Gevorkian Dance Academy perform.

The Horizon Gala Committee members included Mayda Altounian, Alvard Barseghian, Ani Bekarian, Araxie Boyamian, Garine Depoyan, Hilda Fidanian, Christine Hovnanian, Carmen Libaridian, Margaret Mgrublian, Aleen Orucakciel, Anita Siraki, Diana Timuryan, and Elizabeth Zoryan.

The cultural and educational center is currently under construction in the museum campus at Glendale Central Park. The first phase of construction, featuring the museum parking garage and building foundation, has been completed. The second phase, featuring the two-level museum building superstructure, is currently underway.

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