While the Areg Art Union, located in the Akhalkalak village of Tourtskh, was officially registered on Dec. 31 of last year, it can’t start operating due to a lack of funds.
The union was only granted registration due to the mediation of Hovhannes Manukyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to Georgia.
Silva Sipanouhie, who is the moving force behind the union along with fellow writer Kouri Yeter, says that the ultimate goal is to establish a learning center for the arts in the region.
She says that when she first applied to the Akhalkalak regional authority for funding, she was told to look for support from Armenia.
Ms. Sipanouhie says that she petitioned Armenia’s Diaspora Ministry for funding and was told that money for the school would be forthcoming after the organization was registered.
As per the agreement with the ministry, she then opened an account at the Akhalkalak bank for the expected transfer of funds.
She says that the ministry has now informed her that they can’t add any new expenditure in this year’s budget.
“No one is taking care of us; not Georgia or Armenia,” says a disheartened Sipanouhie who is now looking for outside sponsorship. At minimum, she wants someone to cover the wages of the school staff.
Taron Shagoyan, who heads the Diaspora Ministry’s Division of CIS and Caucasian Armenian Communities, told Hetq that his hands are tied since this year’s budget was drafted and finalized in the fall of last year.
Mr. Shagoyan said the ministry would try to help the school in other ways in the meantime and that it would resolve the matter next year if alternative funding sources aren’t found.