Construction of Cultural Center


Varaz Samuelian Cultural Center


Culture and Heritage


Artik, Shirak Region, Armenia


Armenia Fund US Western Region / Bequest of Varaz Samuelian


February 2010


September 2010




Project Details


Artik, a city in Armenia’s Shirak Region, is located in what has become known as the Earthquake Zone since the devastating 1988 Spitak earthquake. In 2010, Artik was chosen by Armenia Fund as the site of the future Varaz Samuelian Cultural Center, which would be built through the bequest of renowned Armenian-American painter and sculptor Varaz Samuelian (1917-1995).

Samuelian was born in Yerevan to a family of Genocide survivors. After moving to the United States in 1946, he went on to become an acclaimed painter, sculptor, and author. His “David of Sassoon,” a two-and-half-ton copper statue representing justice and freedom, is a beloved historic landmark in Fresno, his hometown. Samuelian wished that his legacy, including his paintings as well as a financial bequest, be used for the establishment of a gallery and cultural center somewhere in the Earthquake Zone.

The Project:
Armenia Fund built the Varaz Samuelian Cultural Center in 2010, having chosen Artik as its site after consultations with the authorities of Shirak. Fully furnished and computerized, the two-story, 550-meter-square cultural center features a distinct architecture and is designed to function as a fine-arts and performing-arts center as well as a hub for community leisure. The structure comprises an art gallery; a multifunctional auditorium for screening movies, staging plays, and holding a variety of other events; a computer room with Internet connection; and classrooms for fine arts, music, and chess. A hallmark of the center is its permanent exhibition of works by Varaz Samuelian, which has become a major attraction for local residents and tourists alike.

The construction of the Varaz Samuelian Cultural Center has helped create an unprecedented level of cultural vibrancy in Artik. The residents of the city now have a full-fledged arts complex, where adults and children alike can enrich their lives by taking various classes and enjoying great art, including paintings, films, and plays.


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