Peloponnesian foundation faces an uncertain future

What price does one have to pay for promoting culture in this country? This was the question asked by one woman who has dedicated her entire life – and personal wealth – to a noble cause. Ioanna Papantoniou and her brainchild, the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation, are struggling for survival and face an uncertain future. While Deputy Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis has pledged 50,000 euros of state funding for immediate relief, an amount which the ministry says will rise to 125,000 euros by the end of the year, Papantoniou is thinking ahead. What happens next year? At a press conference yesterday, she stated that an annual operational budget of 250,000 euros, for instance, covers staff salaries, water and electricity but not any kind of maintenance. Founded in 1974, the foundation aims to conduct research, and preserve, study and showcase the rich culture of the Peloponnese and the rest of the country. With a wealth of 27,000 items as part of its permanent collections and exceptional musical archives, the foundation also runs educational programs and organized the highly successful «Ptychoseis – Folds and Pleats» exhibition at the Benaki museum’s new wing last year; it also received the European Museum of the Year main award in 1981. Besides raising funding issues, Papantoniou appeared particularly concerned over the government’s new cultural policies aimed at decentralizing the management of modern Greek cultural heritage.

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