Spitak Ceramics School

   The Veratsnund (Renaissance) Art School was established in Spitak in 1994 under the direction of Antonio Montalto, Director of Family Care in Armenia. It   provides an oasis of hope for the people of Italian Village where many people remain with deep emotional and psychological scars from the 1988 earthquake,   compounded by the poor living conditions and abject poverty.

   The art school makes a valuable contribution to the lives of the children who otherwise have limited opportunities to enjoy normal childhood activities and who   have little entertainment. They are able to experience a variety of skills including painting, drawing from life an making and decorating ceramics. For those who   have the interest and the ability, there is the chance to develop more professional artistic skills and to graduate into the ceramics group when they have left   mainstream school.

   In the summer of 2004 a commercial partner, Jim Cross, helped to establish ceramics production on a semi-commercial scale. Those he trained had graduated rom the Art  School and already had skills in making and painting ceramics. Now with up-to-date equipment and a good work space, ceramics are made and decorated by a group of young people who look to the success of this venture for their own future well being. At the moment the school is situated in Gyumri city, after the name of Jim Cross. 

 The Craft Center is the first micro business venture in the area and is no providing employment on a small scale for those who previously had little hope of earning by their skill. It is hoped that eventually a purpose built center will attract tourists to Gyumri where they will be able to see the results in production and by products directly from the groups.