THE ΤΕΛΟΣ SOCIETY speaks to Sozita Goudouna, Founding Director of Greece In USA
Greece in USA is a non-profit organization with a global reach that promotes knowledge of contemporary and ancient Greek Culture while fostering international cultural cooperation, experimentation and social engagement. The organization's extensive programming includes commissioned artists' and curators' projects, residencies, educational and ecological initiatives and the commitment to cultivating a sensible culture of innovation and thought leadership.
We are dedicated to offering innovative and unique programs in education and the arts, all exploring the evolving diversity and richness of Greek and Cypriot cultures. The non- profit organization seeks to generate new thinking about the arts and promote cross- cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of creation.
The organization promotes international exchange of practice and knowledge in the arts - visual and sound art, dance, architecture, theatre - research on the methods used in curatorial and performing practices and investigation of points of intersection between the arts, science and the public sphere by means of interventions, collective actions, educational programs and publications.
Greece in USA aims to collaborate and build long-lasting partnerships with leading institutions and individuals who actively engage with Greece and its culture and to convey a comprehensive and distinctive representation of Greece and Cyprus by producing cultural and educational programs that encourage intercultural dialogue and enable cultural involvement.
Our principal goals are:
To shape and envision the image of contemporary Greece in the United States beyond existing stereotypes
To recalibrate the assumed center of Greek national narratives to include those who have often been denied historical recognition.
To transform the way Greek histories are told and produce projects that reflect the vast, rich complexity of Greek culture.
To support Greek inspired cultural practices by welcoming and nurturing new ideas and influential perspectives
To commission, produce and present contemporary Greek and Cypriot culture that grapple with many of the pressing social and political issues of our time
To foster Greek scholarship and cultural research within the American educational system
To develop a transatlantic network for the exchange of culture and ideas
To strengthen the development of structures in cultural policy & leadership, and foster worldwide mobility.
Greece in USA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization registered in the State of New York, tax-exempt ID no. 85-0828531. Contributions to Greece in USA are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Greece in USA's launch is under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture.
THE ΤΕΛΟΣ SOCIETY speaks to Greg Haji Joannides, Founder and Creative Director of STERNA
STERNA, founded in 2014 by artist Greg Haji Joannides, is an interdisciplinary non-profit organization whose purpose is to foster and nurture the creative expression of artists while challenging perceptions of what constitutes contemporary visual culture. The Sterna Art Project is designed as an active site, a space for artists to converge through its residency programs, workshops, meetings and exhibitions throughout the whole year in various spaces around the island. The organization places a strong emphasis on the location of the residency in Nisyros and works actively to make a compelling connection between the resident artists and the island, its residents and the existing cultural events.
Georgia Kotretsos: STERNA is situated at the volcanic island of Nisyros in the Dodecanese, that in itself is enough of a contextual turn on fated to arouse a contemplative-state-of-being in any artist. What are some of the unforeseen poetics of STERNA in regards to being in-place, thinking in-place, and creating in-place?
Greg Haji Joannides: I would say it is always the “behind the scenes” situations connecting with the locals either for the production of a piece or an exhibition, or, participation, influence, sharing etc. Some big dinners organized by the artists as a thank you to the locals, or taverna gatherings organized by the locals to say goodbye to an artist leaving in a few days. I am sure that each artist gets different things from such events but I personally get the connection with the community.
GK: Over the years, STERNA’s commitment of producing all artworks in Nisyros, or otherwise engage with the local community for the realization of its projects. This practice brings to mind a personal favorite, Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach. STERNA seems to serve as the adhesive between the land, the artists and the local residents. An adhesive so strong, artists return upon the culmination of the residency to work in Nisyros on their own. What are you doing right? And, how are you sustaining both STERNA and the interest?
GHJ: I would say it is Nisyros that makes it right and sustainable. I am just here to share it. Meaning, that the environment, physical/natural and human/local society create an inspiring and unique experience that most of us haven’t had before or if we have we tend to forget drawn in a city’s routine. I admit that sometimes I stick to the classics; an artist-in-residency program used to be the idea that an artist is spending a period of time in an environment completely different than his/her routine and was mainly related to the periphery, the countryside. In an era where artist-in-residency programs can happen even for one day wherever in the world (more and more in the city lately) I understand the importance of clearing up our mind from the routine, minimize destruction and connect to the place and the time. A kind of empathy for our own self.
GK: How does a residency program evolve? And, what does it evolve to? Over the phone you put emphasis in creating time – χρόνος for the artists-in-residence, in a time-capsule sense where one is wedged between the now – life, and contemplative time. How important are environments and programs that act as intellectual havens and mental rest-stops for the creative process? How could this ever be communicated to an object-driven and outcome-driven art world? What will it take to introduce new habits of doing to the already not-so-well-oiled public or/and private funding Greek mechanism?
GHJ: As I mentioned before, nowadays, residency programs can have any format with huge deviation on the duration or the environment that take place. I am not sure if this is bad but I am not sure if it is good either. Unfortunately, in our fast way of living there isn’t much time and availability for mental rest-stops as you perfectly mention. At the same time, the production oriented world requires to see the results of a residency right away. I think (and I have practically seen) that in any case, an artist that would be in residency whichever amount of time, wherever in the world, is going to create out of this experience. It doesn’t matter if it is going to be right at the end of the residency period or six months later. The outcome will come for sure. So, in this fast way of living and producing I would say that these mental rest-stops could result and produce a more concrete, different result that could even be a luxury “product” at the end. Since everything is going to become the same, hopefully STERNA will stand out…