Snorkeling Over the Past

28, June 2008 § Leave a comment

The program of underwater discovery, called Snorkeling Over the Past, is a regular part of the Center’s program. Students are introduced to snorkeling and explore bits of the past that help to put into context where we are, both physically and historically. For example we explore a Cycladic period (c. 4000 BC) quarry and foundation in shallow water between Paros and neighboring Antiparos.

A visit to a very important temple site (above) where excavations are currently underway is one of the above-water portions of the program.

Peter Nicolaides leads the program. He is a highly accomplished underwater archaeologist, marine biologist and marine ecologist. Peter worked with Jacques Cousteau and operates the Aegean Institute and the Aegean Diving College on Paros.

The Alexandros, a traditional fishing boat (called a kaiki in Greek) that transported students on the program.

In the midst of archaeological exploration, Aegean Center students continue their artistic creation in the present.

Students from the Spring, 2008 session

Students from Spring 2008

Aboard the Alexandros

With wetsuits to keep the temperatures at bay, students depart to explore the archaeological sites below the waves.

Students and instructors alike enjoy lunch at a traditional taverna on Antiparos.


The Green Aegean

24, June 2008 § Leave a comment

Article from the Paros Life, June 2008-

by Anna Angelidou
“An idea whose time has come” is how John Pack, the director of the Aegean Centre for the Fine Arts described his decision to switch to alternative energy sources. In Paros we are blessed with surplus wind and sun and it is a waste of these resources not to make good use of them. John’s plan is to start small scale, much like his renovation of the beautiful neo-classical building in which the Centre is housed.

“All our electrical needs here at the school can be supported 100% by wind and solar, which is our final objective; to be totally off the grid. We have, as a first step, switched to low energy bulbs and you can already see the difference. From 2000 watts, we went to 150 watts, simply by changing a couple of light bulbs. Anyone can do that, and everyone should. The savings are amazing. We hope that we will be a positive example of how even small initiatives can make a difference on Paros, and hopefully inspire others to follow suit. The centre will always be open to anyone who wants to come in and ask us how we did it. All my information will be available for reference to anyone who needs it.

“But going green is not affordable by any means, there is a formidable cost involved and so far, in Greece, the switch for small businesses is close to impossible without help from the EU. It’s such a small scale here but the big problem is the money. I would do it in a heartbeat if I had all the funding, but finding that funding is tough. We are not eligible for EU grants because we are a U.S. non-profit organization and at the present time there are no programmes from the local municipality to provide financial support for these initiatives. One other avenue of funding is through sponsors – many corporations and multinationals have taken their social responsibility very seriously and are including such activities in their annual budgets. It improves their global image with consumers and drastically ‘lightens’ the weight of their carbon footprint on the planet. So this is definitely an option that we will be looking into. By next year we have high hopes of being well on our way to being green.”

It is clear that investing in alternative forms of energy is smart as well as environmentally and socially friendly. Yes, the initial investment can be considerable, but the long term advantages allow you to win back a large part, and maybe even all of your investment. The prospective investor can consider options such as selling some of the energy he produces back to the electrical company so that instead of paying DEH, you’re the one sending the bill! That in itself is a highly satisfying thought! But the biggest satisfaction is the fact that we will be making a conscious effort to save our environment on a personal level. The best way to lead is by example. You have to walk your

talk. Sooner or later we are going to have to catch up to the rest of Europe. Germany is without a doubt the European champion when it comes to energy conservation and sustainable development – they are converting whole cities to solar and wind energy when we are still passing out low-watt light bulbs. The biggest hindrance to the implementation of alternative forms of energy in Greece is cost, and close behind is lack of information. More incentives are needed from national and local government, but that is no excuse for us not to take action. Sometimes the grass-roots movement is much more effective. It is time to get the message out and voice our demands from the government to provide more information, support and financial backing. We are asking for a viable future and this is definitely something to get passionate about. We salute and support the Aegean Center in this endeavour.

For further information or to learn more about sponsoring the Aegean Center’s project to go green, contact John Pack at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts. Tel: 22840-23287 or see www. aegeancenter.org

From the Archives: 1968 Aegean Center Brochure

24, June 2008 § Leave a comment

Thank you to Cynthia Bourgeault (’74) who, on her recent visit to Paros, brought along her copy of an early brochure for what was then called the Aegean School. Nearly four decades later, we continue to develop our

unusual educational approach which is designed to amplify the major aspects of this [unique experience in Greece]: the dramatic change of environment (which often leads to a great deal of self discovery on the part of the individual), the reflection of the student or staff member by the group, and the expression and clarification of new personal insights through art; all of this becoming meaningful through plain hard work.

Cheers!

16, June 2008 § Leave a comment

Thank you to our Spring 2008 students for another wonderful semester at the Aegean Center.

Have you got a favorite photo from this past semester? Send it in and we’ll put it up! aegeancenterblog@gmail.com

From the Archives: The Restoration of the Neo-Classical Building (2001-2002)

15, June 2008 § 1 Comment

In the winter of 2001-2002, the Aegean Center‘s Neo-Classical Venetian building was restored to its original condition. Please have a look at the restoration and post-restoration photo galleries.

Welcome… officially!

13, June 2008 § Leave a comment

Picture of Professor Jeffrey Carson, circa 1988, by Aegean Center alum  Julian Parker-Burns

We would like to officially welcome you to our blog, as well as to our recently revamped website at www.aegeancenter.org. Check back here for more Aegean Center news and events, as well as alumni updates, archival images and Paros highlights. With the new semester will also come student diaries and student work in progress.

If you are an Aegean Center alum and are still working in the arts, or have exciting news to tell, send us an email at aegeancenterblog@gmail.com, and we’ll feature your news on these pages.

Have you got an image of Paros or the Aegean Center from the 60s, 70s or 80s? Add it to our historical archive, again at aegeancenterblog@gmail.com. Pictured above is our very own Jeffrey Carson in the courtyard of the Church of 100 Doors in 1988.

Check back soon for pictures from the Spring 2008 Student Art Exhibition.

From the Archives: The Fayum Portraits by Euphrosyne Doxiades (2003)

13, June 2008 § Leave a comment

The Aegean Center is proud to have renowned art historian, Euphrosyne Doxiades, with us at the Center. Euphrosyne’s insights and lectures into these ancient Egyptian portraits is a high point of each semester.

A link between ancient Egyptian art and Byzantine Greek icons, the Fayum portraits present a haunting glimpse into the lives of their subjects. The stylized portraits are startlingly lifelike and strikingly modern in appearance. Ms. Doxiades is the author of “The Mysterious Fayum Portraits” (Thames & Hudson:ISBN 0500 28217X), widely considered to be the seminal work on the portraits’ history and technique.

Beside art history she works with our painting students on the techniques employed in the portraits, including the tetrachromic color palette and encaustic wax base.

Euphrosyne also has a website analyzing the supposed Rubens’ painting of Samson and Delilah: After Rubens.

Euphosyne and Aegean Center painting professor Jane Pack were interviewed in a Salon article regarding Euphosyne’s After Rubens site.

Aegean Center Benefit Concert

4, June 2008 § 1 Comment

Maria-Elena Kolovos, an Aegean Center alum from 2005-2006, will be holding a benefit concert for the Center on Sunday, June 15 at the Wilshire Ebell in Los Angeles. An original Jane Morris Pack painting (featured on the concert poster above) will be auctioned at the event.

For more information please contact John at pack@aegeancenter.org.

The Vocal Ensemble Concert Review

4, June 2008 § Leave a comment

From the upcoming July issue of Paros Life:

After more than half a decade of twice yearly choral concerts, Maestro Orfeas had stimulated in many of us an almost Pavlovian response: it is the end of the season, the angels are gathering, time for a concert. It may be a miracle that there is a chorus singing the greatest a cappella music on little Paros, but for music lovers here it has become a component of our cultural wellbeing, a June wedding with beauty.

The group has nine singers now, all but one permanent residents. The nine muses comprise sopranos Niki Chasapi and Apollonia Ikonomou; mezzo sopranos Jane Morris Pack, Ute Maria Troussa, Birgitte Karavia, and Stella Skordalellis; altos Konstantina Andreakou and Vicki Preston; and baritone Joshua Warren. I attended
the second of three performances, and got there early enough to secure a place in the front stiffbacked pew.
Dressed in white, the chorus processed into the small church singing “Veni, Creator Spiritus”, a hymn by Gilles Binchois (1400-1460), one of his century’s greatest composers; the maestro gave the beat on a drum. And the evening’s first part consisted entirely of ancient church music. “Gaudens in Domino”, a hymn by favorite composer, Anonymous, followed: it was uplifting, lovely, in tune. The third was a duet between Niki’s pure soprano and Stella’s luxurious mezzo; a Benedictus by Antoine Brumel (1460-1513), it may
have been my favorite of the evening. With its long melisma, it reveled in the polyphonic fluidity which was about to become the stylistic norm of the Josquin generation.
Anonymous again demonstrated his superiority with Crucifigat Omnes. Well, not really anonymous, since it is pretty sure this is the work of Notre Dame de Paris’ Pérotin, who flourished at the start of the 13th century, which is when classical music – accurately notated music with more than one part – also started. Art
has its fluctuations, but does not progress the way science does; as proof, founding father Perotinus Magister wrote surpassingly beautiful music, realized with beauty and exactitude by Apollonia, Ute, and Jane.
The French may have been tops for a century or two, but England also produced fine music. The concert’s first part closed with a beautiful Sanctus by Richard Chirbury (1380-1454), an English master new to me.
For the second half of the evening, the chorus jumped five-and-a-half centuries. But writers of true polyphony – who keep things separate but united, melodic but harmonic, sharp and sweet – are never as far apart as all that, and the pieces now performed were audibly in the same tradition.
Aulis Sallinen (b.1935), sometimes considered Sibelius’ rival for greatest Finnish composer, wrote a lot for the voice. His “Sea Danger” from 1974 frightened us islanders: “Deep in the ocean unfathomable danger is awaiting you.” The chorus then accompanied Stella in Sallinen’s “Ballad”, in which a pretty young lady (Stella
looks the part) leaves her love to cross the sea – a dolorous theme also common in Greek folk music; Stella imbued the solo part with throbbing tenderness.
After a simple and direct selection of the Magnificat by the contemporary Oregonian composer Lana Walter, the spiritual ambience was increased by “Ego, O Proaionios Tragoudistis” (I, the Eternal Singer), by Orfeas himself. This was a strophic setting in a minor key with semi-cadences on the major second, of a mystical text by Panayiotis Papadopoulos. Jane and Apollonia, who performed it to perfection, have clearly been heeding the maestro, who knows things I do not, and not only musical things. It is a haunting piece.
Hugo Distler (1908-1942) is known mostly for his church choral music, and his setting of Psalm 42 is a splendid example. Depressed by the war – the Nazis deemed his music degenerate – he committed suicide in his home town of Berlin at 34. His pieces are free and virtuosic, but that proved no problem for our chorus, who gave a thrilling performance.
Anonymous American hymnals have proved a mine of lovely, heartfelt music, as Apollonia, Ute, and Jane demonstrated with “Wondrous Love”. This served as a prelude to the closing spiritual, “Set Down Servant”: the chorus wailed, Stella and Joshua preached the truth, Orfeas presided and guided, and indeed afterwards I couldn’t sit down – though I would have had they done it all again.
–Jeffrey Carson

From the Archives: The Lefkes Sanctum (2005)

4, June 2008 § Leave a comment

It was 1988 when I had my first meeting with the town council of Lefkes. I was seeking their approval to establish an outpost facility of the Center in their beautiful mountain village. Time and events, being the friend and enemy they always seem to be, delayed this special dream from becoming a reality until October 2005.

Dreams come true not through fairytale realities, but through focused hard work, conviction and usually a good measure of well earned serendipity. Dreams are also often realized with the help of others who believe in what you are doing — the John Van Burens, the Rosamond Olivettis, our faithful alumni and their families. In the case of Lefkes, it was through the kindness of Monique Mailloux and Stelios Ghikas who founded the beautiful Studio Yria in Lefkes and Kostos.

This beautiful space, outside of the daily path from home to studio, in a different village on the island, allows students to find a quiet place dedicated to thought and conversation.

Within the space our intent will be: to contemplate Art and Place, finding personal meaning in its message, to increase our ability to observe, to still the obsessive contemporary art ego and pinpoint our focus, to clarify our attention and quiet the anxious world outside. Over the years Lefkes has always provided this ‘quiet space’ for me personally.

Standing still before beauty we seek self awareness and access to our humanity.

John Pack

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