The Gyumri Branch of Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts was founded in the year of 1997. The rector of Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts Professor Aram Isabekian and Svetlana Gevorgian met the foundation with great enthusiaism. It was them by whose efforts the educational procedure was organized. The director of the branch Hambartsoum Ghukasian gathered around his personality the best artists and sculpturers, who at the beginning had to take care both for material-technical grounds of the college, for lecturing and for their own creating. In 1997 the branch had three departments: painting, graphic arts, sculpture. The number of the students was seven. They there those talanted young man, who for lasting years dreamed of studying in the Academy of Fine Arts. In 2001 the branch was completed with Decorative Applied Arts/Potter’s Art and Folk Crafts sections, with its focus on Fashion and Textile Design and Coloured Metal Development professions. In 2003 Sewing and Color Metal Development labaratory was created. In 2004 with the means provided by Alek Manoukian fund, in the roof part of the building new auditoriums were built. In 2006 computer class room/laboratory was opened in the branch. In 2007 the creation of History and Theory of Fine Arts department becomes the achievment of the institute. The higher educational establishment has kin relations and ties with Cultural Section of Viena Municipality. Thanks to them the library of the college is being filled with fresh literature. The college takes part in all cultural events of the town. It regularly organizes exhibitions in Armenia and abroad, exsists as curator and active participant of Gyumri Contemporary Art Centre/ GCAC. Today the higher educational establishment has more than 200 students, young and talanted professional personnel and multiple projects.
The Gyumri branch of Yerevan Fine Arts Academy celebrated its 10th anniversary on December 21, 2007 at the Hoktember movie theater in Gyumri, Armenia. Republic of Armenia Education and Science Minister Levon Mkrtchian, Rector of Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts Aram Isabekian, AGBU Armenian Representation Director Ashot Ghazarian, other officials, local authorities, and representatives of higher educational institutions were present at the festive celebration.
Coinciding with the celebration was the opening of an exhibition of various works, including fine arts, graphics, sculptures, ornaments, and textile designs, by academy students in the halls of the institute. Also on exhibit in the nearby Aslamazian Sisters Hall were art works by academy professors.
“This building was renovated by the funds provided by ‘Hayastan’ All-Armenian Fund, AGBU and the money raised by the people during the pilgrimage of composer Loris Tjeknavorian to Gyumri in 1991.” This sentence is inscribed on the plaque at the entrance of the building unofficially called the Academy of Fine Arts, which houses the Gyumri branches of three state art institutions of Yerevan: the Yerevan Fine Arts Academy, the Yerevan Conservatory and the Yerevan Institute of Movie and Theater. This educational center, which started with less than 10 students a decade ago, today has 192 specialists in six departments.
“I’m very glad that the building, which resembled a pile of stones back in 1994, breathes today and creates art. It reflects the soul of the people of Gyumri – fine arts, music and theater. These are things that have always been strongly characteristic of the people of Gyumri and have fed our culture. I remember the days when this building was half-ruined and a sign on it said, ‘An arts academy will be built here.’ People used to bring their children here even before it was fully built. And I remember once I heard a woman saying, ‘My child will study here.’ Thank God, AGBU had the opportunity of investing here and establishing this cultural center,” said Ghazarian.
“We are so happy,” said Isabekian. “The establishment of this department, as well as the other two, was of vital importance back in the 1990′s. The atmosphere in Gyumri after the disastrous earthquake was very depressing, people felt abandoned. And even though there were a lot of other unsolved issues then, time proved that the establishment of such a cultural center was a very right decision. It brought enthusiasm to the city, to the youth. And today we have a beautiful 10-year-old cultural center. I want to mention with admiration about our lecturers working in Gyumri, amazing painters, wonderful people, who organized all this work, who overcame all the difficulties. And certainly, I would like to underscore the great contribution of the Armenian General Benevolent Union in all this.”
Armenian Representation Director Ashot Ghazarian, Yerevan Academy of Fine Arts Rector Aram Isabekian, Rector of Gyumri Pedagogic Institute Vardevan Grikorian, Yerevan Fine Arts Academy Gyumri branch Director Hambardzum Ghukassian, and the Republic of Armenia’s Education Minister Levon Mkrtchian tour the art exhibition at the 10th-anniversary celebration of the Gyumri branch of the Yerevan Fine Arts Academy on December 21, 2007.