Article written by Birthright Armenia and Dilijan Community Center Volunteers
Ghazar Ghazaryan is a painter and co-founder of the Geological Museum and Art Gallery of Dilijan. Ghazaryan was born in Dilijan and attended the local musical school. He also took part in a painting club opened by Mamikon Ghulyan of Shushi. In the third grade, he competed in an art exhibition where he won an eraser and five coins for his entry. From then on, he was hooked. “Painting is like a drug, once you do a little, it is difficult to get out”, he says.
His education continued when Hovhannes Sharamberyan came to Dilijan and opened a club which educated many acclaimed painters, architects, and designers. Later, he entered the Panos Terlemezian Yerevan State College of Arts and spent 11 years in Yerevan. He says he prefers painting because not much is needed outside of you and a canvas. Unlike music where you play someone else's songs, you create something that is your own.
He returned to Dilijan out of a love for the area and nature. In Dilijan, he began to work in the theater as a painter. Shamberyan returned to open the Folk Art Museum which Ghazaryan helped to co-found and was appointed the director. The museum's opening was well received and visited by prominent artists like Edward Mirzoyan, Gevorg Emin and others. Ghazaryan wants the museum to be a “living” place with a rotating collection and festivals and other events going on.
The museum’s original building—built in 1926—was damaged during the earthquake. Dilijan’s mayor and architects decided to move the museum to its current location. In 2008, Ghazaryan also founded an affiliate branch of the Yerevan Academy of Fine Arts in Dilijan.
After Armenia’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ghazaryan says the town has transformed from a ghost town to one of Armenia’s most thriving areas. He hopes to see more development of Dilijan as a resort area instead of a financial center.