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New Art School Opens in Fresno

Staff Report

Art and painting have always played a big part in Armenian life. One can still see in  Armenia examples of ancient and medieval architecture and art.  As in the past,  so now   also a new generation of architects, painters, and artists are leaving their heritage of art.

There is a saying in Armenia, “All children are ready-made artists,” yet it is through  the teacher that that art is developed.      Sona Atoian was fortunate enough to be born in a family which worships art. Her  father, the famous painter Rafael Atoian, was her first teacher. Having graduated from the  Art Academy of Yerevan, she entered her new creative field of work, participating in art   exhibits and working with children in an art school.

Moving to Fresno, Sona Atoian had a dream to open a similar art school and a   children’s art museum.  And today that dream is becoming a reality. Under the leadership  and direction of Sona Atoian, the first art classes have begun, taking place at the First   Armenian Presbyterian Church, with thanks to the assistance of Rev. Bernard   Guekguezian.  Classes began small but with a high quality of students. Today there are   more than forty children and adults, Armenian and non-Armenian, who are taking classes.

The students have already participated in art exhibits, have won prizes, and have a desire to   perfect their art.  On Friday, November 8, at 7:00 p.m. the official opening of the art School will   take place in the Social Hall of the First Armenian Presbyterian Church, 430 S. First Street   in Fresno.

The community will have the opportunity to meet with the teachers and students.   The program will  include remarks by Rev. Geukguezian, Pastor of the First Armenian   Presbyterian Church and by Barlow Der Mugrdechian of the Armenian Studies Program.

The program will also include a musical program with John Chookasian on clarinet,   Barbara Chookasian on dumbeg, and Garo Bedrosian on the oud.

Admission to the opening is free and open to the public.   All artists and art lovers are invited to attend.