First published in the Sept. 18 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
State Sen. Anthony Portantino announced this week that $1.8 million for the Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center was approved by lawmakers in Sacramento, fulfilling his latest budgetary request to the legislature.
The much-ballyhooed project, which broke ground in July on the former Central Park site, has now garnered nearly $10 million in state funding. It has additionally garnered millions more from local government, corporate and individual donations.
Portantino, a La Cañada Flintridge Democrat who represents Glendale, had previously worked to secure state funding for the project.
“I am thrilled to secure additional funds to keep the museum’s positive momentum going for this important cultural center in Glendale,” said Portantino, whose district office is located in Glendale, in a statement. “The landmark museum will impact and inspire generations to come. This is an investment that represents our shared vision with the Armenian American community. I am pleased to be in a position to help make it a reality and very grateful to our senate leadership and the governor for supporting this educational investment that will benefit California for decades.”
The groundbreaking ceremony in July drew more than 1,000 to the park site, where they braved the heat for hours as officials and donors extolled what construction of the museum would mean for them and the Armenian diaspora in California and throughout the world. The institution will boast a permanent exhibit as well as rotating ones, on top of various other programming and research endeavors as it seeks to promote the history of Armenian Americans’ contribution to the nation’s history. Ten Armenian American cultural, philanthropic and religious nonprofit institutions are represented on the museum’s board.
“We are incredibly grateful to Senator Anthony Portantino for his unwavering support of the Armenian American Museum,” said Berdj Karapetian, executive chairman of the Armenian American Museum, in a statement. “It is an exciting time for the project as we celebrated the historic groundbreaking with the entire community and now have commenced construction at the future site of the museum. Senator Portantino’s efforts to secure additional funding, and the state of California’s continued commitment and partnership, will help bring to reality a landmark center that will be the pride of our Jewel City and Golden State.”
Prior to the groundbreaking, Portantino helped secure $8 million in state funds in support of the project. After there was a $1 million grant approved by the legislature in the 2016-17 year, Portantino secured an additional $3 million for the museum in 2017-18. This latest addition brings the total state investment in the museum to $9.8 million.