Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway: Engaging All, Coming Together

AYF Camp Haiastan visits Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway, June 25, 2024

Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway is where our community comes together, where all come together on common ground — remembering, honoring and celebrating. 

In the heart of downtown Boston, Armenian Heritage Park is among the few public gathering sites in the United States that commemorates the Armenian Genocide on public land in a major city. The park is where many become aware of Armenia for the first time. 

Annually, the April 24 Commemoration at the Park, under the leadership of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee of Greater Boston, brings our community together with the Park’s many friends and neighbors, those walking by and visitors to Boston. 

On any day at the park, people are meeting and greeting, walking the labyrinth, marveling at the Abstract Sculpture or sitting on a bench enjoying lunch or engaged in conversation. The park is a treasured gift that continues to inspire, inform, meaningfully engage and connect. This gift both honors and pays tribute to our parents, grandparents and ancestors and is a living legacy for our children and grandchildren. It is embraced by so many as it tells our story, a shared story, and in doing so builds community, awareness and connection.

Many read the plaques next to the benches surrounding the Abstract Sculpture and Labyrinth and the seating walls. The plaques recognize the generosity of the park’s benefactors for their extraordinary support of the Park and its Endowed Funds. 

Every day passersby pause to read the Inscription on the Reflecting Pool upon which the Abstract Sculpture sits. “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,” it reads.

The park, with its geometric features that tell the story of the immigrant experience, engages all ages, cultures and ethnicities, while inspiring programs that build common ground, understanding and community. The park sparks the realization that our histories and cultures connect us and celebrates contributions made to life and culture in Art, Science, Service and Commerce, the words etched around the Labyrinth’s Circle.

The park’s innovative Abstract Sculpture tells our story, the shared story of leaving or being pulled away from one’s country of origin and coming to these shores to start a new life. Annually, the two halves of the split rhomboid dodecahedron made of stainless steel and aluminum are pulled apart and reconfigured to create a new sculptural shape. This change brings vitality to the park and reflects changing lives and the world in which we live. The park is as fresh, dynamic and impactful today as it was when it opened 12 years ago. 

Geometry as Public Art: Telling A Story, the curriculum inspired by the park’s geometric features that tell the story of the immigrant experience, was developed in collaboration with the Boston Public Schools. This curriculum is now implemented in many fourth grade classes throughout the city of Boston. The Stephen H. Barmakian Family Foundation of The Columbus Foundation is providing the funding to support round trip bus transportation to and from the school to the park for fourth grade classes in 10 Boston public schools during the 2024-2025 school year. 

Programs at the park are offered in partnership and in collaboration with civic, arts, community or educational organizations including the city of Boston, Boston Public Schools, Children’s Museum, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of Fine Arts, among many others. Each serves to broaden the reach and impact of the park and in doing so also shines a light on Armenia — our country, our people and our history. 

Campers from AYF Camp Haiastan walk the labyrinth, June 25, 2024

Walking the labyrinth together is integral to many of our programs. The park’s labyrinth is symbolic of life’s journey, with one path leading to and from the single jet of water at the center representing hope and rebirth. Many walk the circular labyrinth each day to relax, meditate, contemplate or move. From May-October on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. the weekly Movement & Walking Meditation is offered in collaboration with Boston Public Health Commission and The Greenway Conservancy Fitness Program.

Celebrating What Unites Us! is a monthly program at the park offered in celebration of the immigrant experience and what unites and connects us. This monthly series builds community and cross-cultural understanding while promoting active, healthy and engaged living. Each month highlights a country of origin of many working and living in Boston and beyond. At each program, following a brief welcome and introduction to the park, a community leader shares his/her immigrant experience. All walk the labyrinth together. Then a chef speaks about a signature dish that all taste and enjoy while meeting and greeting. This series is funded by the City of Boston Office of Immigrant Advancement.

Tea & Tranquility is a monthly series on Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. On July 10, Big Joe, the storyteller, will offer a delightful performance for all ages. Modern Pastry is providing Italian cookies for all to enjoy. On August 7, Armina Manoukian, co-owner of the House of Lavash, will share her experiences and the art of making gata, a luscious Armenian sweet for all to taste and enjoy with refreshing iced tea.

Under the Moon is an evening summer series, which included the Strawberry Moon on June 13 featuring chocolate-dipped strawberries, hosted by Ovenbird Café and owner/chef Jason Reed. The upcoming Under the August Moon is on Sunday, August 18 at 7:30 p.m. and features the Black Sea Salsa Combo and refreshing Citrus Spritzers. The park in the evening with its night lighting is always a special place to be.

Programs at the park and the curriculum are developed by the Friends of Armenian Heritage Park comprised of teams of committed volunteers. Most programs depend on generous gifts in kind. Many friends also serve as greeters warmly welcoming visitors to the park. These teams also include those working and living in Downtown Boston, North End, Rowes Wharf and neighborhoods throughout the city. 

The Friends of Armenian Heritage Park is an initiative of the Armenian Heritage Foundation whose Board is comprised of representatives from Greater Boston parishes and organizations. The Foundation’s Executive Committee oversees the endowment and the annual operation of the park that includes its year-round care and maintenance. These endowed funds include the annual reconfiguration of the Abstract Sculpture, care and maintenance of the park, public programs and lecture on human rights at Faneuil Hall. A key focus is continuing to fully endow the park’s Legacy Fund to annually support its care and maintenance during all seasons in perpetuity. 

For the schedule of the programs at the park, visit ArmenianHeritagePark.org. For further information or ways to volunteer, please call 617-803-8785 or email hello@ArmenianHeritagePark.org. Join us!

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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