BOSTON, Mass.—In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway, a series of events will be held to celebrate this treasured gift from Armenian Americans to the City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts—a gift in tribute to our ancestors, grandparents and parents and a living legacy for our children and grandchildren.
Armenian Heritage Park is a place that brings pride to all Armenians and celebrates the strength and resiliency of not only generations of Armenians who have immigrated to the US, but of immigrants and refugees from throughout the world who have come here and contributed much to American life and culture.
In the heart of downtown Boston, Armenian Heritage Park is where our Armenian-American community gathers and where all gather on common ground.
Armenian Heritage Park is among the select few gathering sites on public land in the United States that commemorates the Armenian Genocide, celebrates the immigrant journey and contributions made to American life and culture and welcomes all in celebration of what unites and connects us. The Park is a place to remember, honor and celebrate.
On the occasion of the Park’s 10th anniversary, a gala benefit, “Celebrating Contributions of Our Nation’s Immigrants,” is being held on Wednesday, September 21 at the InterContinental Hotel, Boston. Stephen Kurkjian, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author is the distinguished honoree. Organizations serving immigrants and refugees will be recognized. Funds raised will benefit the Park’s Legacy Fund, the endowed fund to support the annual care and maintenance of the Park year-round for many years to come.
“The Park has been a brilliant addition to the new Boston with its giant modern sculpture that gets reshaped every spring into a new form. As The Boston Globe stated, it celebrates ‘how public art becomes a part of the city, both permanent and alive’…measuring up to the promise each of us makes in living or working in Boston – you are part of this city’s great history and expected to honor and contribute to it…And this is the kind of pledge that I see that the Armenian Heritage Park made to itself and to those who supported its drive from the outset,” shared Kurkjian during the virtual Gathering for Park Benefactors on December 2, 2021.
The son of an Armenian Genocide survivor, Kurkjian was born and raised in the ethnically diverse neighborhood of Dorchester. He is a product of Boston Public Schools (BPS) and a graduate of Boston University and Suffolk University Law School.
An editor and reporter for The Boston Globe for 40 years, Kurkjian was a founding member of The Globe’s investigative Spotlight Team. Kurkjian was awarded the Pulitzer Prize on three occasions; he’s also received about 25 other regional and national reporting awards. Between 1986 and 1991, Kurkjian headed The Globe’s Washington Bureau where he managed 10 reporters, as well as covered the Justice Department.
Following his retirement from The Boston Globe in 2007, Stephen researched and wrote Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist (Perseus Books, 2015), about the historic theft from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In his retirement, he has taught journalism as an adjunct professor at Northeastern, Boston University and Boston College. He has continued to write extensively about the Armenian Genocide of 1915, a horrific massacre by the Ottoman empire which killed more than a million Armenians, including his paternal grandfather, and drove countless others from their ancestral home. Kurkjian has long been a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR). He is the father of two adult children—Erica Kurkjian Parrell, a public school teacher, and Adam, a teaching assistant with the Needham Public Schools. He is a proud grandfather to Theodore, Jillian and Emily Parrell.
On this 10th anniversary, benefactors and supporters of the Park, who so generously supported the campaign to construct the Park and endow funds many years ago, are being asked to consider a gift to support the Legacy Fund to care for and maintain this “gem of The Greenway” (The Boston Globe, April 2015). These endowed funds support the annual reconfiguration of the abstract sculpture, the Park’s care and maintenance, public programs (Genocide remembrance, a welcome reception for new citizens following their naturalization ceremony at Faneuil Hall and the lecture on human rights at Faneuil Hall).
On any given day from early morning to late evening, people are enjoying Armenian Heritage Park. All marvel at the abstract sculpture, a split rhomboid dodecahedron made of steel and aluminum that annually reconfigures. Its two halves are pulled apart by a crane and reconfigured, symbolic of all who left or were forced to leave their country of origin and came to these Massachusetts shores establishing themselves in new and different ways. Many walk the labyrinth, symbolic of life’s journey. There is one path leading to the center and the same path leading out. At the labyrinth’s center, a single jet of water is symbolic of hope and rebirth. The water has emerged from the reflecting pool upon which the sculpture sits, washing over its sides reemerging at the labyrinth’s center. Art, science, service and commerce are the words etched around the labyrinth’s circle in tribute to contributions made to American life and culture by all immigrants. Even those passing through take a moment to read the inscription on the reflecting pool: “Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have offered hope and refuge for immigrants looking to begin new lives. This park is a gift to the people of the Commonwealth and the City of Boston from the Armenian American community of Massachusetts. This sculpture is offered in honor of the one and one-half million victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923. May it serve in remembrance of all genocides that have followed and celebrate the diversity of the communities that have re-formed in the safety of these shores.”
The Park’s Endowment is managed by the Armenian Heritage Foundation’s Investment Committee. The Board of Directors of the Armenian Heritage Foundation is comprised of representatives from Armenian-American parishes and organizations throughout Massachusetts. Programs at the Park are initiated by the Friends of Armenian Heritage Park.
Many programs are offered in collaboration with civic, arts, cultural and educational organizations. Partners include the City of Boston, BPS, Museum of Fine Arts, Armenian Museum of America, Boston Pops, Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at MGH, Berklee College of Music, as well as organizations serving immigrants and refugees. Geometry as Public Art: Telling A Story, the innovative curriculum and BPS Partner Program, is being implemented in several Boston Public Schools, with funding from EdVestors to support roundtrip bus transportation to and from each school to the Park.