About Us

What is Abastan?

Abastan is an independent creative community.
We are people of different professions and nationalities who share love for art, adventure, and collaboration. Our common goal is to create a space where people from around the world can learn from each other, realize creative projects, rethink identities through intercultural conversation, discover complex textures of the past, overcome challenges of the present and imagine a better future. “Abastan” means “refuge” in Armenian, and our Abastan, located in a hospitable lowland at the foot of the mountains in northern Armenia, aims to be a safe haven where people in challenging moments of their personal and professional lives can find new directions through learning and creative collaboration.

What do we do?

We paint, draw, mould, sculpt, animate, carve, print, sew, design, build, craft, assemble, read, write, compose, play… and more. Artists and artisans in our community work across a variety of media and techniques. As Abastan grows, so do the possibilities of creative expression in our community. Please see more about our projects here.

We learn from each other and our guests. Every week we organize workshops where residents of Abastan share their ideas and skills. We also hold regular educational events with guest speakers.

We organize. Abastan is a registered NGO run by volunteers. We work hard to ensure the functioning of our democratic governance and learn from best practices in community organizing. More about our values can be found here.

We connect people across the wide network of our community, including our regional and international partners, striving to create new opportunities for fruitful collaborations. Together we are stronger!

We revitalize. Abastan is housed in the building of an old school-turned-textile factory in Tumanyan, Lori Province. We are turning this space into a complex of residential rooms and ateliers, turning into a comfortable place for life and work while respecting its history and identity.

We work with the community of Tumanyan to help create a better future for a small town striving to reinvent itself in the post-industrial age.
Abastan in Words of Others
  • I was inside a community created within the surviving factory building and the shadows of the past. It felt so strange to notice a completely new smell – the smell of life – in a strictly defined area that would otherwise smell musty and stinking. Deteriorated and crumbly surfaces took on a surprisingly cheerful note. The walls featured new paintings and omnipresent traces of the artists [...] The “creative” factory in the center of a former industrial town raises questions that hover in the air. Will Tumanyan embrace the creative spirit of the factory…? Will Abastan be able to reignite the eternal cycle of the machinery? Will it be a space to learn and see for the residents of Tumanyan…?
    Nazik Armenakyan
  • A few years ago, a new project came about to revitalize and redefine life in this town. Because it's a beautiful place! How could life come back here? How could jobs be created? How can one attract tourists? And Abastan and our participants who came here fit seamlessly into this big picture of revitalization. Of course, words like "revival" carry a lot of responsibility. Even understanding these words, what it will be, what is being discussed right now, at the stage of conversation and experimentation. But we hope to collaborate with other people who are doing projects here. We plan to work with the local community to create new opportunities. So when we think of Abastan, we think of it [...] as a project that will be a part of other local initiatives.to be added
    Katya Ceppel
  • It is always hard for artists and creative people to find their place in society, especially in difficult conflict times. Today, when the whole world seems to be on fire, many are forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in new places. This is how the idea of "Abastan" was born - a refuge for artists in the picturesque town of Tumanyan in the Lori region of Armenia.
    Anjela Alekyan
Abastan Interview 2023
by civilnet.am
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