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Executive Director Chris Ayzoukian brings an international scope and a little magic to Beaverton with the inaugural Reser Presents series

THE RESER - Internationally renowned Flemenco and Spanish dance artists Carlota Santana Dance Company performs at The Reser May 3.As the Executive Director for the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts, Chris Ayzoukian is charged with ensuring the organization meets its mission of making the world of arts accessible to the diverse community of Beaverton, Oregon.

Ayzoukian moved to the area from California in 2017, after years of working in executive roles at the Los Angeles philharmonic Association, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Hollywood Bowl. Ayzoukian says he took the job because of the once-in-a-generation opportunity that The Reser has to make an impact in this region. He had developed a love for the area after visiting family for many years, and was impressed with the preparation that the City of Beaverton had already done to open a dedicated arts center.

Not only had Beaverton completed multiple feasibility studies, but "the City had this amazing, well-loved philanthropist in Pat (Reser), so it was a real partnership from the start, and now that's coming to fruition. It's a model public-private partnership," says Ayzoukian. "That's really gratifying for me. In my career and my line of work, you don't get too many chances to open up a new building."

Lucky for Ayzoukian, he had the opportunity to work on opening another building in his career: the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

But The Reser isn't just a building, it's a nonprofit arts organization that exists for public benefit. Ayzoukian says, "It is not a place that will just slot in

performances and events. It will be a professional organization with thoughtfully curated events and performances to connect with the community."

Two series will comprise The Reser's performance schedule. The Reser Presents is The Reser's own collection of curated performances, presenting artists and attractions from all over the world. Ayzoukian says that The Reser Presents series will "bring the world to our stage." Other performances will be curated by local arts and culture organizations from around the Metro area, that The Reser will host in its venue.

The goal of The Reser Presents series, according to Ayzoukian, "is to be international in scope, and truly add to the cultural and artistic landscape in the community, as well as reflect Beaverton's diversity. Over 75% of our Reser Presents performances feature artists of color."

On International Women's Day, March 8, The Reser Presents brings to the stage Nobuntu, a female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe — just one example of how The Reser hopes to connect Beaverton with the world.THE RESER - Nobuntu, a female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe, performs on International Women's Day, March 8.

Ayzoukian says community response to The Reser has been strong. "Many people have wanted more access to the arts on Portland's West Side for so long, and there has been pent-up demand. Now it's finally here."

"I think there's this excitement about the fact that it's actually happening. It took so many years that people who were involved very early on probably thought, 'Well, this is many years off, this might or might not happen,'" says Ayzoukian. "It's happening. It's real. We're grateful to so many people who brought us this far, including Pat Reser, former Mayor Denny Doyle, current Mayor Lacey Beaty, many city councilors both present and past, the Beaverton Arts Commission, the Beaverton Arts Foundation, and over 1,000 individual donors."

And there's such a vast array of performances and events to be excited for. The Portland Gay Men's Chorus will be at The Reser on March 25 and 26, with Learn to Fly. April will include visiting presenters like White Bird's Versa-Style Dance Company. The Reser Presents series will be a solo theatre work NASSIM, award-winning singer and actress Lea Salonga, Ukrainian music group DakhaBrakha, and more.

"Not only does The Reser present performances that are both world-class and award-winning," says Ayzoukian, "but Beaverton itself is 'happening.' It's becoming a destination, and it'll be well worth it for travelers to visit."

Plus, the building itself is stunning.

"[People] will be surprised," says Ayzoukian. "It's a uniquely intimate space that everyone must-see. The pictures don't do it

"It's a uniquely intimate space that everyone must see. The pictures don't do it justice, so that's why they've got to visit. And we will be here welcoming people with a smile."

Chris Ayzoukian

Executive Director,

Patricia Reser

Center for the Arts

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