BY PATTYL APOSHIAN KASPARIAN
With all the mumbo jumbo about who wore which designer and who waltzed the red carpet with whom at the Oscars, it’s easy to forget that a few miles away in the beautiful city of Beverly Hills, the Armenian Cultural Foundation publicized its own celebrities—an intimate group of 300 A-listers dressed to the nines in glamorous outfits and fashion must haves.
Montage Beverly Hills was filled with laughter, sparkle and dazzle. It was an alembic evening—one of firsts and even a few rarities. The evening celebrated the accomplishments of the Armenian Cultural Foundation and highlighted the youthful energy surrounding these successes. The annual banquet also served to raise funds to fuel the growth of the Western Region.
Thanks to the foresight and determination of a few individuals, a new fundraising opportunity was introduced. Several volunteers took ownership of this new adventure, a silent auction, and proceeded with boundless energy and enthusiasm. Volunteers spent endless hours assuring that the donated goods resonate specifically with our caliber of guests.
Some committee members donated from their personal collections. Others reached out to business owners and friends. I did the unconventional.
It was an “uh-oh” moment where I spoke too quickly at a late night meeting and didn’t realize the commitment I made until I said it aloud. I suggested that we approach the internationally-famed and multi-talented artist, Emil Kazaz, to donate a masterpiece. Some were skeptical, others optimistic. As reality hit, I weakened at the thought of being turned down. Yet, knowing that I would make the ask on behalf of the Armenian Cultural Foundation instead of my own personal interests, I felt the power, energy and confidence of a newly crowded Miss America.
After a few weeks of electronic chat, I met Monet Kazaz, Emil’s wife and business partner. Monet Kazaz is one of those women you sense before you see, her grace and charm somehow arriving on the scene two seconds before she does. We hit it off instantaneously. We spoke about family, business, daily obligations and future aspirations. We talked about the Armenian Cultural Foundation and its integral role in the development of our community. I described the elegance and importance of the banquet. We talked so much, we ran out of time.
We both ran home to tend to our kids and promised to meet a few hours later. With great enthusiasm, I notified my committee that we would add an Emil Kazaz masterpiece to the already impressive silent auction.
As I met Monet for the second time, I expected her to walk in with a small artist’s folder and hand over a small painting. I anticipated the “let’s hurry and get this over with” greeting. Instead, we continued our conversation about the Armenian Cultural Foundation. She was intrigued. She was fascinated with the wealth of information, resources and volunteer efforts surrounding our organization.
Instead of offering a masterpiece of her choice, she asked me to select from the prominent Kazaz collection. How could I choose–different canvases, sizes, price ranges? Everything was so beautiful.
After several pleases and thank yous, I pointed to two large oil paintings similar to ones I’ve seen displayed in international galleries and asked if I could share these paintings with my committee members. In the name of the Armenian Cultural Foundation, I took possession of the treasured canvases and stared blindly at Monet. “Just like that, you’re going to let me walk away?” I asked. “Do you want to hold my license and credit card as collateral?”
Monet Kazaz smiled her beautiful smile and said, “For someone who dedicates her valuable time for an organization she holds so dear to her heart, that’s all the collateral I need.”
There’s a certain pride that goes into these experiences—actually it’s more than pride. It’s the perfect mix of confidence, reputation and history.
It’s the difference between going after what you want and deserve instead of what you think you can settle for. After all, the Armenian Cultural Foundation and its supporters deserve only the best!
Thank you to all the silent auction donors who contributed to the success of the 2012 Annual Banquet.
Serop and Arsho Beylerian
Viken and Nora Hovsepian
Emil and Monet Kazaz
Leon’s Fine Jewelry
Montage Beverly Hills
Ralph and Savey Tufenkian
Vahe and Nora Yacoubian