For three years in a row, the Fulbright Foundation in Greece has proposed an Athens Art Walk to incoming US Fulbright grantees. Scope of this initiative is the introduction to a number of main venues for cultural events in the center of the city to view some of the contemporary art exhibitions and to discover their relationship to the city and its inhabitants.
The city has recently added some impressive international architectural buildings to its curriculum, showing the way forward for a society still in crisis. There is opportunity to meet the people behind the scenes and some of the Fulbright alumni involved. Grantees are thus provided with the opportunity to take part in Athens’ vibrant city life during their grant period.
In 2014, the walk focused on the south axis – the main artery that runs from the city center towards the coast -, which is currently in full development. Visits were made to three foundations – the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, the Onassis Cultural Centre, and the Eugenides Foundation, three venues that exist thanks to the generous support of their founders. The idea of ‘philanthropy’ as an important factor in society was put forward or as Carnegie wrote: “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced”. Carnegie’s Gospel spelt out in details the obligation of a great man to perform philanthropic deeds.
This year, on Wednesday, November 18, the participants were introduced to two venues in the Psirri neighborhood in the city center, a local area close to the tourist quarters of Monasteraki and Plaka, where tanners used to labor. Poor as it once was, since the Olympic games, the neighborhood has been upgraded and many young entrepreneurs, artists, and designers moved into the old warehouses and workshops. The US grantees met with two Fulbright alumni from the Salzburg Global Seminar Young Cultural Innovators session at Romantso, an incubator for start-up companies within the creative industry and a cultural center, and at the Museum for Gastronomy.