GLENDALE (Creative Armenia)—On Friday, June 29, a passionate crowd of nearly 500 people filled Glendale’s Downtown Central Library to hear Armenia’s new Minister of Culture Lilit Makunts and Creative Armenia Vice President Alec Mouhibian discuss the country’s recent Velvet Revolution, its aftermath, and their plans to convert the momentum into a long-term cultural awakening in Armenia.
“The Velvet Revolution was not just a political miracle, but a triumph of imagination,” Mouhibian said. “The joy and generosity of the street protests, the endlessly inventive methods of civil disobedience, toppled a monster regime and captured the entire world’s attention. It proved that culture is Armenia’s greatest resource.”
Makunts was a liberal-democratic activist and a professor of philology before she was selected to head the new Ministry of Culture on May 12. She was one of the dozen activists led by current Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan who initiated the “Velvet Revolution” by setting off on a 200-kilometer walk from Gyumri to Yerevan. On Friday night, she answered questions about her experiences during that remarkable movement, the efforts of the new government to fight corruption, and her vision for the future.
“We are working nonstop to change and elevate the way creative business is done in Armenia,” Makunts said. “We seek your involvement and investment — not only financial investment, but intellectual investment. The talent and experience of diasporans and their colleagues around the world are vital to fuel this cultural rebirth, and our partnership with Creative Armenia is a key part of the process.”
On June 15, the Ministry of Culture and Creative Armenia entered a public-private partnership to rejuvenate the arts, build creative industries, incubate creative careers and projects, and develop strategies toward cultural acceleration and promotion. Makunts and Mouhibian spoke of how this will take shape in the coming months. They hinted at a mechanism they are building for strategic investment in artistic projects that have major global potential, which will launch later this year.
“We want our creative industries to be as innovative as our tech industries,” Makunts said.
“Since the revolution in April, spectators around the world ask: how did they do that?” Mouhibian said. “We want them to keep repeating that question — about Armenian movies, music, art and culture — for a long time to come.”