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.
Georgia Kotretsos: Snehta is known for its artist-in-residence program, which pairs international artists with local curators. The longevity of the program only confirms its success. Snehta has acquainted a diverse roster of artists with the local art scene where all parties involved engage in a reciprocal exchange. How if at all, has the recent crisis post-lockdown affected the development of your program? Are we to be expected to see residency programs to evolve as new regulations, policies and measures continue to be implemented?
Augustus Veinoglou: As the team still develops Snehta’s program for 2021 Snehta is currently running a new residency called Median - The in between - that hosts Greek artists within the bounds of its traditional residency 2012-2020. This program emerged from the Covid-19 crisis so it can give Greek artists the opportunity to develop new work and research during a period where mobility and social gathering are limited. As these are traditional tools in the hands of contemporary artists Snehta comes to shed light into the local ecosystem and unveil its particular dynamics where cultural production can be possible.
As we are looking to resume the international program in spring 2021, we can use this time to try new ideas, from the way the team is structured to the actual activities Snehta is hosting giving space for playfulness and new ideas.
GK: The educational component of SNEHTA does not shy away from traditional techniques such as etching, woodcut, ceramics, videography and clay modelling classes – a trend, I would wish to encounter more often in contemporary programs. Is it by situating both the body in the work-place and the work-place in the community, that inevitably an organization invested in its immediate geography will grow?
AV: This is the idea. Geography and locality are key whilst developing new skills and becoming part of a professional community, this should apply for both artists and people outside Arts professional confines. Reaching out to the community by directing artists to turn their attention to it or by highlighting / unearthing the local dynamics of a neighborhood, area or site and turning those into artistic instruments is a tactic Snehta arrogated from the early start.
Yet what we have attempted in the last two years with our educational workshops, is to gradually introduce contemporary ideas to non-artists that could improve daily experience. The tool for that is to engage openly through the teaching of new techniques and skills. Yet attention is also given onto how artistic identity syndicates with habitual types of experience, this is a secondary objective Snehta aspires to extend further through art education, thus we are currently developing two proposals for an outreach education program that could actively bring both Snehta resident artists and art educators closer to the local community, that program could fundamentally change the residency structure introducing new professional roles i.e. community engagement offices into the program.
GK: As an artist yourself, running an artist-run space, you are very much aware of your peers’ needs locally as well as internationally. In your opinion what are some of the alternatives we should collective favor; challenges we will be called to overcome and opportunities to create in the near future?
AV: This is a hard question to answer in a short-sighted manner as needs are particular and person-specific… However, in terms of the general benefit of the artistic community and as far as Greece’ cultural industry goes, we could benefit more by talking more with our localities. In my opinion what should come first is a very detailed mapping of all creative players in Athens and furthermore in communities across Greece. Then I believe it is fundamental that opportunities which are genuine and are calibrated towards professional futures for local artists should emerge, yet it is fundamental that a holistic cultural policy should be in place before hand.
These new opportunities must be attuned to contemporary needs of artists which can elevate Greece to the level of becoming a significant contemporary cultural producer worldwide. For that to happen uniformly and attain the highest reach. Localities should first orientate towards topic cultural demands and bring those topics to the general forum for discussion. As funds, and potential institutionalization cascades from the top down - in this novel era - it may allow small to medium size organizations to be the policy makers and the - in kind - supporters to those key artistic players given of course that those organizations are the ones that are being supported on the first place by institutions which are in solemn authority.
THE ΤΕΛΟΣ SOCIETY speaks to Augustus Veinoglou, Founding Director of Snehta
Snehta stands for the name of the City of Athens written in reverse. This name metaphorically suggests that the artists involved are to rediscover Athens by reading and translating it alternatively, observing and using the City’s local, social and cultural dynamics.
Our work ethos is to reinforce participating artists to bring a renewed awareness of Athens through the works produced, exhibitions and events. These should relate to and critically stimulate Hellenic, inter-European and global audiences, redefining Athens in a global context.
Our programs have as a common basis to expand artistic practices that present elements of innovation and experimentation.
Snehta fosters artists that clearly delineate the implication between artist, work and audience whilst supporting creative practices that strongly regard the experience or involvement of the community in the artwork or within the organization.