Two too many?

Two too many?

Former council candidate submits his own ideas for Armenian Genocide memorial

By Nick Smith 04/04/2013

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As members of a Pasadena committee prepare to unveil a proposed memorial honoring those killed in the Armenian Genocide, an alternative memorial design has been put forward by another group headed by former City Council candidate Chris Chahinian.    
According to City Councilman Gene Masuda, the Pasadena Armenian Genocide Memorial Committee was formed to explore ways to commemorate the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1923. The group, which has selected a work created by Art Center College of Design student Catherine Menard, includes  prominent Pasadena architect Stefanos Polyzoides and former Pasadena Mayor Bill Paparian.
According to Masuda, however, Chahinian, who ran against Masuda in 2010, broke off from that committee and formed the Armenian Community Coalition (ACC), laying the groundwork for a separate memorial design. The ACC met in March with city officials to discuss the design, maintenance and upkeep of that memorial, which is expected to be completed by 2015. Also at the meeting was the project’s designer, Vahram Hovagimyan.
According to Paparian, who chairs Masuda’s memorial committee, Menard’s design concept was the first choice among 17 entrants, which included Hovagimyan’s work.
“The design Chahinian submitted is a warmed-over reject,” Paparian told the Weekly. “Basically, it’s a memorial tombstone. We didn’t think it was consistent with the excellence and design standards that we were striving for and we think we found with Catherine’s design.” Menard’s design will be formally unveiled April 15 at Art Center.
Chahinian remembers things differently.
“We had been working on this project for more than two years. City officials were very cooperative with [the ACC],” said Chahinian. “We should give credit to the ACC for their vision and commitment to this project.”
Both nonprofit organizations plan to pay for the memorials through private donations.  Masuda’s committee hopes to place Menard’s work in Memorial Park in Old Pasadena.
In the end, the city will choose which design to erect, a difficult task considering the sensitivity of the matter.
“I think the city will look at which organization did it the right way [and] followed the process,” Masuda said.


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Paparian has deep roots in the community and has been championing this and related issues in Pasadena for decades. My assumption is that the committee he is heading represents groups with long histories in Pasadena also. I read about the Menard design and the process in the paper, and the design seemed profoundly inspired. I hope that Mr. Chahinian falls in behind that effort and gives it his full support. The cause is more important than individuals.

posted by Vivavilla on 4/05/13 @ 06:06 a.m.
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