NEW YORK – Artist Residency Center Athens (ARCAthens) Founder and Executive Director Aristides Logothetis took time out of his busy schedule to speak with The National Herald about this extraordinary nonprofit organization.
ARCAthens is dedicated to hosting visual artists and curators from all parts of the world to live and create in Athens, Greece, thereby facilitating a diverse influx of expression, production, and learning in a city brimming with creative energy.
Many have noted the outpouring of creativity, calling Athens “the new Berlin” but Logothetis prefers the phrase “Athens is the new Athens” referring to a declaration from the BBC, “reminding us that Athens used to be the standard that other cities aspired to.”
The response to ARCAthens has been overwhelmingly positive with many astonished that there was no such program established long ago. The organization includes a diverse group of experts in their fields, including Logothetis, Iris Plaitakis- Assistant Director, Maggie Lam- Director of Communications & Marketing on the staff, the Board of Directors- William A. Fagaly- President, Dan Cameron- Secretary, Zesty Meyers- Treasurer, and Advisory Council Brooke Davis Anderson, Chryssa Avrami, Pedro Barbeito, Paolo Colombo, Kate Gilmore, Anthony Meyers, Kalliopi Minioudaki, Georgia Siampalioti, Hakan Topal, and Jannis Varelas.
Logothetis noted the importance of transparency and an ethical process for selecting the artists. “Our goal is to be an excellent nonprofit adhering to nonprofit culture and standards. There’s really no reason for us to exist if we compromise that. It’s an artist/scholar initiated project and if we don’t do the best job we can, why do it?”
“We would like to see this project 50 years later be an institution, and you can’t do that unless you have a solid beginning,” he said.
The well-known philanthropists Daphne and George Hatsopoulos have made a generous contribution to ARCAthens, joining the Founding Patrons Circle, Logothetis told TNH. Kiriakos Charlie Perperidis and Roda Plakogiannis also joined the Founding Patrons Circle with their generous contributions. Such donations translate “into significant opportunities for creative potential to accelerate and flourish—ultimately ensuring innovation in the visual arts and contributing to our cultural heritage as a whole.”
Logothetis noted that the nonprofit aims “to bring 12 fellows a year for 3 months give them a live-work space, help them with their travel, give them a modest stipend, give them everything they need to create.”
The artists who participate in the residency will be selected “by a community of highly qualified professionals from the art world, an external jury, who will have an ongoing relationship with the organization, they will be a part of the process, they’ll know us, they’ll make recommendations for us, they’ll network for us, that’s the way you grow as well. It’s the most ethical way to go.”
Having participated in many residencies as an artists himself, Logothetis understands the powerful effect such a program can have on not only the artist, but on the community where the residency takes place, and the wider world as well. The art, ideas, and relationships continue long after the Fellows in the program return home.
More information about ARCAthens is available online at: arcathens.org.