SACRAMENTO – California Governor Jerry Brown signed the 2017-2018 state budget Tuesday with $3 million earmarked for the Armenian American Museum. The new funding will be dispersed over the next 3 years at $1 million per year. The approval brings the State’s total funding commitment for the Museum to $4 million.
“We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our State of California leaders to build a historic cultural and educational center that will honor the rich history and celebrate the diverse cultures who call our great state home,” stated Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian.
“We would like to express our special thanks to Senator Anthony J. Portantino, Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, and Budget Subcommittee Chair Richard Roth for leading the efforts to prioritize the funding in the 2017-2018 state budget,” stated Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Archbishop Hovnan Derderian.
The $3 million funding request was initiated in the State Senate by Senator Anthony J. Portantino with the support of Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León and Budget Subcommittee Chair Richard Roth. Upon the approval by the Senate Budget Subcommittee and Budget Conference Committee, the new funding for the Armenian American Museum was included in the 2017-2018 state budget proposal approved by the State Legislature on June 15.
“There is a long history of California supporting laudable museum projects around the state,” stated Senator Anthony J. Portantino. “I wanted to make sure that the Armenian American Museum garners equal and fair support.”
“It was an honor to work with my colleagues in the California legislature to secure $3 million dollars in funding for the Armenian American Museum,” stated Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León. “I am proud to stand in solidarity with the Armenian community.”
Last year, Governor Brown approved the 2016-2017 state budget with $1 million for the Armenian American Museum, an initiative led by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian and supported by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León. Governor Brown’s January budget proposal released earlier this year suspended the previously approved $1 million for the Museum. State Legislators called for the restoration of the funds and advocated for additional funding in the 2017-2018 state budget.
“The Armenian American Museum in Glendale has the potential to serve as a beacon of hope for countless visitors through its work to embrace our diversity, educate, and empower all who step through its doors,” wrote Assemblymember Laura Friedman in a letter in March urging the Governor to reinstate the $1 million for the Museum. Friedman’s support for building the Museum in Glendale began as a Glendale City Councilmember and she has continued to advocate for the project in the State Assembly as one of her top priorities.
Ultimately, Governor Brown’s May Revise budget proposal reinstated the initial $1 million and the 2017-2018 budget signed by Governor Brown today commits an additional $3 million for the Armenian American Museum.
“The State of California’s investment in the Armenian American Museum lays the foundation for a momentous project that will serve generations to come,” stated Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Bishop Mikael Mouradian.
Museum officials continue to work closely with the City of Glendale on developing the project’s concept design, traffic, parking, economic, and environmental studies in preparation for the upcoming ground lease agreement consideration by the Glendale City Council.
“We are looking forward to working with our City of Glendale partners to build an iconic center in the heart of Glendale’s Arts and Entertainment District,” stated Museum Governing Board Co-Chair Reverend Berdj Djambazian.
The Museum’s concept design by Alajajian Marcoosi Architects was unveiled in December 2017. The video of the concept design can be viewed at www.ArmenianAmericanMuseum.org.
The Armenian American Museum is a developing project in Glendale, CA, with a mission to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Armenian American experience. When completed, it will serve as a cultural campus that enriches the community, educates the public on the Armenian American story, and empowers individuals to embrace cultural diversity and speak out against prejudice.
The governing board of the Armenian American Museum consists of representatives from the following ten Armenian American institutions and organizations: Armenian Catholic Eparchy, Armenian Cultural Foundation, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Armenian General Benevolent Union – Western District, Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Relief Society – Western USA, Nor Or Charitable Foundation, Nor Serount Cultural Association, Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, and Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church.