St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral


The St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral on 34th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan celebrated their 50th anniversary with a concert and liturgy with over 500 people in attendance. The curators wanted an exhibition that would spark memories in the visitors. They created a complex script with text and images to be transformed into an exhibition.

We developed a timeline that told the story of the cathedral and subtly incorporated the motif of the shape of the Cathedral’s dome, Armenian crosses, and the annual ceremony of the releasing of the doves. The exhibit was supposed to be on display for a week-long presentation but the staff was so pleased that they decided to leave the display up in perpetuity.

From the client, Sandra Shahinian Leitner:

My team and I contacted Johanna Goldfeld only 7 months before the opening of our exhibition “Image of a Living Church,” a commemorative exhibition in observance of the 50th anniversary of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral, located at Second Ave and 34th St in Manhattan. We were referred to her by the Metropolitan Museum. As a group of volunteers who knew little to nothing about an exhibition of this type, we embarked upon the project with a steep learning curve.

Johanna was so very helpful in coaching our team; we were passionate about our subject matter, but had little experience in curating an exhibition. She was patient, understanding, and extremely organized. She kept us on track and guided us to the best uses of our material. She also grasped the sacred nature of the project. We were privileged to have her artistic sensibility applied to our project. Her skills extend beyond the visual and technical abilities of a designer. She has great verbal and written communication skills; she selected and managed the installer and printer we used for the project which would have been a daunting prospect for us without her help.

I couldn’t have asked for a better experience or outcome using Johanna Goldfeld for this exhibition.  We had a very successful opening with over 600 people in attendance and the exhibition will remain up for the remainder of the year for church members from other regions to visit. I am very grateful to Johanna and recommend her without reservation.

Photo credit: Albin Lohr-Jones / Eastern Diocese

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