Help needed for Georgian Enamel Gallery and School
Enamel Art Gallery [Ornament] is a unique institution in the small world of enameling. Not only is it a sophisticated gallery space in the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia, but it also has a concurrent school with prominent instructors. Over 400 people have learned traditional Georgian cloisonné enameling through Ornament and have gone on to earn their living from enameling. Thea Gugenidze, one of the leading founders of the current revival of enameling in Georgia, is co-owner of Ornament and teaches at the school. Her passionate commitment has been to the revival of cloisonné enameling as a part of Georgian history and culture as well as a means of economic development for underprivileged Georgians..
Ornament was founded in 2000 and is located in Tbilisi’s old town, which is prime territory for gentrification. The Georgian government has decided to “privatize” a lot of prime real estate once owned by the state, including the site that is now Ornament and the Enamel Art Gallery school. The gallery owners cannot afford to buy the building and are seeking some kind of state aid to help them Otherwise the building that houses the gallery and school will be sold to the highest bidder and the space most likely used for either an upscale restaurant or shop in this very touristy area of old town Tbilisi. The deadline for help is the end of September.
Mary Chuduk and Judy Stone, who have both gone to Georgia on behalf of the U. S. State Department to work with Georgian enamelists, are asking all enamelists, enameling organizations, and related organizations to send a letter of support to the Georgian Government to help the owners, Thea Gurgenidze and Khatuna Babaunashvili, purchase the building they are currently leasing.
Letters of support [no digital signatures please] can be sent via PDF file attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Address the letter to “To Whom This May Concern” or to “Dear sir/madam.” Letters will be sent on by the gallery to the authorities that are dealing with their situation. If you would like to make a direct financial contribution, you should contact the gallery at the above e-mail address as to best way of sending a donation.