THI Fights Graffiti Blight with $15K Grant to Athens Partnership’s Anti-Tagging Program

After the graffiti clean-up in Athens. Photo: Courtesy of The Hellenic Initiative

ATHENS – A country’s capital is its gateway to the world, and first impressions are hard to change- a crucial challenge where tourism is a prime industry. With a donation of $15,000, The Hellenic Initiative (THI), in the context of its continuous support in Greece, contributes to the beautification of the historical center of Athens and to the maintenance of its monuments by supporting the anti-tagging initiative of the City of Athens, implemented by the nonprofit organization Athens Partnership (AP), “This is Athens – Polis.”

The program focuses on cleaning the commercial triangle area, which has the highest density of visual pollution from graffiti, as well as on engaging local communities and stakeholders to actively participate in the organization’s initiative.

Before: Graffiti in Athens on Stadiou Street. Photo: Courtesy of The Hellenic Initiative

This program, in cooperation with specialists and the local business community, has managed to clean and maintain an area of 20 acres. Until today, 12 streets in the heart of Athens have already been revived, including the historical building of the Old Parliament House, which houses the National Historical Museum, and many parts of Stadiou Street, a central boulevard in the historical center, visited by millions of people a year. After cleaning, special anti-graffiti material and hydrophobic paint are applied, in order to prevent the reposition of posters and make the cleaning of new visual pollution easier.

The program runs within the framework of This is Athens & Partners, the unique public-private partnership led by the City of Athens. It brings together major stakeholders, including a number of prominent organizations, with the mandate of developing, managing, and promoting Athens as an attractive year-round destination for visitors, residents, professionals, and investors, by introducing a number of wide-ranging projects.

After the graffiti clean-up in Athens on Stadiou Street. Photo: Courtesy of The Hellenic Initiative

THI Executive Committee Member Drake Behrakis said, “The Greek tourism success story was a vital stabilizing force during the crisis, but it is also prologue to an even brighter future. Unfortunately, one of the most frequent comments of returning tourists is how awful the graffiti is in Athens. We want visitors not only to return to Greece, but to bring friends and family with them, and to consider the country as the site for their companies’ and organizations’ conventions, and for the medical tourism Greece seems to finally be taking steps to develop, and this initiative provides subtle but powerful support similar to initiatives that helped cities like New York make their comebacks.”

THI’s Executive Director Peter Poulos said, “Visual pollution in historical centers is a great issue amongst most of the major cities around the world. During the past few years, the City of Athens has been implementing a great pallet of initiatives aiming to bring back the former caliber and beauty of the historical center, which image had been affected by visual pollution. Through our long-term collaboration with Athens Partnership, in the Hellenic Initiative we are doing our part in the beautification of the city and we are very proud to be an active member of these efforts.”

Before: Graffiti in Athens. Photo: Courtesy of The Hellenic Initiative

Athens Partnership Managing Director Anna Zilakou said, “We are grateful to The Hellenic Initiative for its vital contribution to achieving our primary goal, which is to promote Athens as a contemporary cultural center and an attractive, year-round tourist destination. Having reliable and prominent partners like THI, with whom we can share the same vision for our city’s historical center, always helps in bringing in great results.”

Before: Graffiti in Athens. Photo: Courtesy of The Hellenic Initiative
After the graffiti clean-up in Athens. Photo: Courtesy of The Hellenic Initiative

More information about The Hellenic Initiative is available online: http://www.TheHellenicInitiative.org/

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1 Comment

  1. I was in downtown Athens the beginning of February waiting to take a bus. I felt that I was in a old Russian city with buildings’ facades having a grayish black color probably what New York City suffered with in the 70’s and 80’s by leaded gas fumes created by automobiles traveling into the city; and of course NYC had a tremendous amount of graffiti where you could not even look out of a subway window. More than three decades later NYC was cleaned up by two great mayors. The mayor of Athens Mr. Bakoyiannis will have to take these baby steps to get the work done, and also promote more volunteerism where in general Greece lacks! There are other major issues such as the horrendous state of the sidewalks, where I have heard of stories of injuries such as broken ankles, legs etc. Many people walk in the streets to avoid these dilapidated sidewalks.I can go on and on. I just want to wish Mr Bakoyiannis and his cabinet my best wishes to make Athens look like a more modernized and functional city!!

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