Event at Neiman Marcus raises funds for a dwindling community in Jerusalem
CHICAGO, Ill.—A private cocktail reception for renowned artist Michael Aram was held at Neiman Marcus in Chicago with co-hosts Oscar Tatosian, Mary Hoogasian, Carrie Nahabedian, and Michael Nahabedian. Chicago Armenians and non-Armenians were invited to view his gift and tableware collections, as Aram personally inscribed each item purchased. A percentage of the evening’s proceeds was given by Aram to the newly formed nonprofit, Save the Armenian Quarter (ArQ), thus allowing the committee to go public with their campaign.
Save the ArQ aims to create awareness of the significant religious, cultural, and historical presence of Armenians in Jerusalem and to encourage the revitalization of the Armenian Quarter in the Old City. Armenians are the only people to have a Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem with the three great monotheistic faiths, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The Armenian Quarter encompasses one-sixth of the Old City, which the Armenians have inhabited since the 4th century.
The Armenian community of Jerusalem has been vastly dwindling. Today, the current number of Armenian residents is between 500 and 1,000. Aram contributed and helped this cause go public because, as he says, “the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem has been an important cultural and religious living monument for the past 1,700 years and requires international awareness and support in order to be preserved and maintained.”
At the reception, guests were taken by Aram’s modest yet exceptionally kind-hearted nature, as well as his ability to connect with each individual. He ensured the event was a huge success as guests perused and purchased his innovative works to the live sounds of Mark Gavoor playing oud and John Paklaian the guitar.
Carrie Nahabedian, the co-owner and chef of NAHA restaurant, was enthralled. “Armenians love Armenians! The love of the art…supporting the community and a fellow Armenian who is a creative force in his field made the evening a smashing success,” she said.
Oscar Tatosian of Isberian rugs, concurred, adding that it was a “wonderful evening, and great to see the entire community support the decorative arts of a talented Armenian American.”
This internationally known artist remains deeply rooted with his Armenian heritage. Tania Lopez Meyer, a non-Armenian and guest, was truly impressed. “Being a modest collector of Michael’s incredibly versatile and exquisitely artistic pieces, it was a pleasure to meet the artist and celebrate his culture and his works. It was also an honor to have met him under such poignant cause. I find his generosity to equal his talent,” she said.
As the evening ended, Gloria Hachikian reflected on the event, noting that we were all “so thrilled by the generous spirit of Michael Aram. He not only is a great artist and businessman, he is a great Armenian. His work reflects his heritage and he is proud to bring that to the world.”
Save the ArQ is passionate about helping to sustain the community and the Armenian life that has existed in the Old City of Jerusalem for the last 1,700 years.
For more information or support, email Mary Hoogasian at email@example.com.