Walking the Labyrinth at Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway (photo Andrea Burns)

Heritage Park on the Greenway Continues Making Mark on Armenian Community

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BOSTON — The Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway is where the community comes together, remembering, honoring and celebrating.

In the heart of downtown Boston, the Armenian Heritage Park is among the few public gathering sites in the United States that commemorates the Armenian Genocide on public land in a major city.

Annually, the April 24 Commemoration at the Park, under the leadership of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee of Greater Boston, takes place there.

Many read the plaques next to the benches surrounding the Abstract Sculpture and Labyrinth and the seating walls. The plaques recognize the generosity of the Park’s Benefactors for their extraordinary support of the Park and its Endowed Funds.

Every day passersby pause to read the Inscription on the Reflecting Pool upon which the Abstract Sculpture sits. “Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have offered hope and refuge for immigrants looking to begin new lives. This park is a gift to the people of the Commonwealth and the City of Boston from the Armenian American community of Massachusetts. This sculpture is offered in honor of the one and one-half million victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. May it serve in remembrance of all genocides that have followed and celebrate the diversity of the communities that have re-formed in the safety of these shores.”

The Park’s innovative Abstract Sculpture tells the Armenian story, the shared story of leaving or being pulled away from one’s country of origin and coming to these shores to start a new life. Annually the two halves of the split rhomboid dodecahedron made of stainless steel and aluminum are pulled apart and reconfigured to create a new sculptural shape. This change brings vitality to the Park and reflects changing lives and the world in which we live. The Park is as fresh, dynamic and impactful today as it was when it opened 12 years ago.

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“Geometry as Public Art: Telling A Story,” the curriculum inspired by the Park’s geometric features that tell the story of the immigrant experience, was developed in collaboration with the Boston Public Schools. This curriculum is now implemented in many 4th grade classes throughout the City of Boston. The Stephen H. Barmakian Family Foundation of the Columbus Foundation is providing the funding to support round trip bus transportation to/from the school to the Park for 10 fourth-grade classes in 10 Boston Public Schools during the 2024-2025 school year.

Programs at the Park are offered in partnership and in collaboration with civic, arts, community and/or educational organizations including the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, Children’s Museum, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Museum of Fine Arts among many others.

The park’s labyrinth is symbolic of life’s journey with one path leading to the single jet of water at the center representing hope and rebirth and the same path leading out. Many walk the circular labyrinth each day to relax, meditate, contemplate and/or for movement. From May to October, on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., the weekly Movement & Walking Meditation is offered in collaboration with Boston Public Health Commission and The Greenway Conservancy Fitness Program.

“Celebrating What Unites Us!” is a monthly program at the park offered in celebration of the immigrant experience. This series aims to build community and cross-cultural understanding while promoting active, healthy and engaged living. Each month highlights a country of origin of many working and living in the City of Boston and beyond. At each program, following a brief welcome and introduction to the Park, a community leader shares his/her immigrant experience. All walk the labyrinth together. Then a chef speaks about a signature dish that all then taste and enjoy while meeting and greeting. This series is funded by the City of Boston Office of Immigrant Advancement.

The Armenian Heritage Park from above (Steve Dunwell photo)

“Tea & Tranquility” is the monthly series on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. On July 10, Big Joe, the storyteller, will offer a performance for all ages. Modern Pastry is providing the Italian cookies for all to enjoy. On August 7, Armina Manoukian, co-owner of the House of Lavash, will share her experiences and the art of making Gata, a luscious Armenian sweet for all to taste and enjoy with iced tea.

“Under the Moon” is the evening summer series which included the Strawberry Moon on June 13 that featured chocolate-dipped strawberries, hosted by Ovenbird Café, owner/chef Jason Reed. The upcoming “Under the August Moon” will take place on Sunday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. and features the Black Sea Salsa Combo and refreshing citrus spritzers.

Programs are developed by the Friends of Armenian Heritage Park comprising teams of volunteers. Most programs depend on gifts in kind.

The Friends of Armenian Heritage Park is an initiative of the Armenian Heritage Foundation whose Board is composed of representatives from Greater Boston parishes and organizations. The foundation’s Executive Committee oversees the annual operation of the park that includes its year-round care and maintenance and overseeing the endowment. These endowed funds include the Annual Reconfiguration of the Abstract Sculpture, Care & Maintenance of the Park, Public Programs and Lecture on Human Rights at Faneuil Hall. A key focus continues to fully endow the Park’s Legacy Fund to annually support the care and maintenance of the Park during all seasons in perpetuity.

For the schedule of the programs, visit ArmenianHeritagePark.org. For further information and/or ways to volunteer, email us at hello@ArmenianHeritagePark.org.

 

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