The Dilijan Art Initiative is a complex project that seeks to promote Dilijan and Armenian culture internationally, providing support for the presentation of work by artists from the Armenian diaspora in the world’s leading exhibitions and major cultural events.

The Dilijan Art Initiative supported Armenity/Hayutyun; the National Pavilion of the Republic of Armenia at the 56th Venice Biennale, which was awarded the Golden Lion, the highest possible honour for a national pavilion, and the Armenian programme at the 14th Istanbul Biennial devoted to the research of Armenian history and trauma in contemporary Turkey

Dilijan Arts Observatory

In 2016, the Dilijan Arts Observatory (DAO), an experimental interdisciplinary think tank was launched, which aims to develop new models for art practice and higher education in Dilijan. The first major international art event in Armenia organised by the Dilijan Art Initiative, the Observatory brought together an international group of artists, cultural historians and environmental scientists to Armenia.
Fieldwork activities include investigating style, crafts, graphics, music, composition, and astronomy; Soviet architecture and design; culinary knowledge; archiving and transmitting 20th century memories; wilderness, botany and future products for survival. A two-day public event was held in Dilijan, presenting the results with a series of events, including an all-night symphony, culinary festivities, performances and exhibitions, as well as an international round-table debate on a future academy for art and life practices.


In May 2017, the opening of UP (ԱՓ) Design Pavilion’s first edition took place. The project was promoted under DAO undertakings. From July, the Pavilion travelled to Dilijan and ran all through the summer. In Dilijan, the Pavilion was set up in the building adjacent to Toon Armeni Guest House.

An array of design pieces created by around 25 designers of Armenian origin from Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, US, UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Iran, and Brazil were presented at the Pavilion. The types of designer works included furniture & product designs, fashion & accessories, children’s products, and graphic and art prints. Some pieces have been specially created for the Pavilion.

UP Design Pavilion aimed to widen the understanding of design in Armenia and educate a literate consumer society to better understand that design is a social process, an ‘art de vivre,’ and not merely a commodity. By commissioning, exhibiting, and selling design products by emerging and established young designers of Armenian origin, both based in Armenia and the Diaspora, the Pavilion intends to broaden awareness of modern and contemporary design in Armenia, revive craftsmanship and foster collaborative work.


The Community Archive project is a publicly available online directory of photographs, documents and other archival objects related to the history of Dilijan from the 19th century to the present day. It allows for the collection, archive and presentation of family and city archives. It is an interactive platform that invites Dilijan residents and other individuals who want to collect and preserve both public and private stories, memories and testimonies, to create a multi-layered representation of the city’s collective history.


The Dilijan Intercultural Exchange was conducted as part of the Civil Society Cooperation programme funded by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

The Dilijan Intercultural Exchange project complements our extensive urban regeneration program and reflects its commitment to developing the local community, promoting cultural dialogue and supporting initiatives aimed at enhancing the role of Dilijan as an educational and cultural hub of Armenia.

The second stream of the Dilijan Intercultural Exchange project represented the Armenian chapter of the Global Resonances exhibition at the Project partner’s premises —the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin. A unique selection of the artworks and investigations produced at the Dilijan Arts Observatory, a pilot interdisciplinary research project launched as part of the Dilijan Arts Initiative complex program, which brought together artists from 15 countries to Dilijan, included in the collection of exhibits together with important archival material from Dilijan.


In May 2015, an exhibition dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the victory in World War II was organised in the National Assembly of Armenia. The paintings were selected from the private collections of entrepreneurs and benefactors, Ruben Vardanyan, Vladimir Avetisyan and Vladimir Nekrasov.

The exhibition included works by Armenian and Russian artists dedicated to the theme of war, victory and peace. The collection of paintings, that encompasses 100 canvases, belong to the brushes of around 30 painters, including popular representatives of social realism, such as Albert Papikyan, Alexander Ta’renko, Dmitri Nalbandyan, Victor Abrahamyan, Nikolay Troshin, Gevorg Kotyants, Andrey Bantikov, Ruben Zakharyants, and others.

In May, 2017, they were exhibited at the National Gallery of Armenia. The exhibition was held as part of the celebrations linked to the presentation of the Aurora Humanitarian Prize. Yerevan residents and numerous guests of the capital became its visitors. The exhibition gave the them an opportunity to get acquainted with the work of iconic artists who lived and worked in a country that is no longer on the world map.

The collection of paintings donated to the To Armenia with Arts foundation by Ruben Vardanyan, Vladimir Avetisyan and Vladimir Nekrasov consists of 100 paintings. The authors are about 30 painters of the Soviet period, including well-known representatives of socialist realism, whose paintings were presented at numerous exhibitions in the USSR and abroad.

The paintings have also been exhibited in Dilijan, Goris and Shushi.

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Dear Visitor,

We are glad you are interested in the activities of the IDeA Foundation.

On this platform, you can learn about two-decades long thought, passion, commitment and hard work — all in pursuit of a more prosperous Armenia. The road has been long and reflections many. But we managed to achieve to a point where our work has left its mark on the lives of millions of people and we are really proud of it.

Our accomplishments are the fruit of a collective effort by hundreds of thousands of promoters and volunteers, tens of thousands of donors and supporters, hundreds of colleagues and dozens of founding partners. Together, we have shown what wonderous things can be achieved when people strive for realization of a common goal.

Allow our family, who was lucky enough to witness these remarkable achievements from the beginning, to express our sincere gratitude to numerous wonderful, caring, purposeful people and organizations that made all these achievements possible. We have the honor to present their successes and express our gratitude to them.

We have tried to present the key landmarks of our journey to a brighter Armenia, to chart the lessons learned, and some of the new approaches and initiatives they have forged — the 700 projects over the last 20 years.

We hope that learning about these works will be as pleasant for you as it is for us to tell about them.

But, more importantly, we would like to see you among those Armenians who will continue this path together with us in the future.

If a single community of like-minded people working towards the realization of a common vision of the future can achieve such a result, imagine what kind of changes can be made if the efforts of the entire nation were directed towards creation. Together we can dream.

And, together, we can make our dreams come true.

Thank You,

Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend