BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Two weeks in a row with positive things to say. I’m starting to feel like a cheerleader– a narcissistic cheerleader at that, with this and other references to my own spoutings. But fair’s fair, things aren’t all bad.
On June 20, LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, hosted the opening of an exhibit cosponsored by the Armenian Center for the Arts (ACA), in his own offices, of works by four Armenian artists. This is the third exhibit. Last year it was of The Genocide Project’s photos and the year before, Sara Anjargolian’s photographic work.
This speaks well of those Armenia’s working in the office, of which there are a respectable number. It says they know that besides their jobs, they can also contribute to our community’s well being by organizing such affairs. I have no doubt that part of the reason Delgadillo allows this is cynical, self serving, and political. That does not mean he doesn’t have a genuine interest, nor does it mean we should not avail ourselves of such opportunities. It means that there’s a mutual benefit. I wish our employees in giants such as Boeing, large law firms, universities–public and private (not just those with Armenian Studies chairs/departmen’s), or government all got together and did this kind of work. It’s great positive PR work for us.
But, there is another issue that rises here relating to the ACA. Aside from the fact that the acronym might confuse our public, since the ACAA already exists on the East Coast, there is the matter of organizations such as the ACA being created. This is not meant to undermine the work being done. The people involved in it, at least the ones I know, are all high caliber, committed, and competent. The goals of the organization are ones I support whole-heartedly. ACA just happened to serve as the trigger for this commentary.
ACA and others like it are groups that seem to be multiplying of late. These are people who want to do good work but for whatever reason, choose not to affiliate with existing, larger, usually more multi-purpose groups. This can be a waste of energy as I mentioned last week, in that each startup must establish its own credentials. It can be an advantage since smaller entities are often more nimble and less burdened with hierarchy and “we’ve always done it this way” attitudes.
But what most often drives such proliferation is a fear of being marked as belonging to one faction or another of our community. But if one faction has done a better job of preparing or engaging people in a certain arena, why should the benefits not accrue there? What’s wrong with the completely natural phenomenon of factions anyway? Besides, wouldn’t you rather have factionalization than ego/personality-based groups popping ip? The smaller an entity, the more likely it is for one or two swollen-head types two dominate. Then someone gets irritated and spins off with a following, and the cycle repeats. Net result? Small scale factionalization.
On top of the above, this process creates a sort of confusion and consequent and reticence of support among people. No one is served by this attitude.
I do not argue that new organizations are never the answer. The best example I can provide is the professional organizations that have come on the Armenian scene over the last two decades– engineers, scientists, pharmacists, mental health types, nurses, jewelers, doctors, dentists, and perhaps others I know not of or have (apologetically) forgotten. However, even hear, I would recommend these groups form an umbrella organization to help with economies of scale whenever possible.
So heed my plea all ye inspired do-gooders, please integrate and help build (and usually modernize) what we already have.