CULTURE

New hope for SkopelosPhotography Center

Aray of hope is shining on the Skopelos Photography Center, the future of which had, for some time, appeared dim. Last week, after an idle year and a half, the second and third parts of the «Coming Out of the Years of War» photography exhibition opened last week. The Skopelos Photography Center was founded in 1995 when Thanos Mikroutsikos was minister of culture. Its first artistic director was Yiannis Dimou; current director Vangelis Ioakeimidis has held the position since 2000. The center has produced serious work and has taken powerful initiatives. Among other activities, the threefold exhibitions «Religion,» «Family,» and «Globalization,» presented in 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively, were received very warmly. Unfortunately, due to financial hardships, the center’s actions all froze in the beginning of 2004. The Municipality of Skopelos failed to provide the money that had been agreed on by contract and the Ministry of Culture kept delaying the funds. As a result, the center stopped working altogether and even its offices closed down. It should be noted that the Skopelos Photography Center is one of Greece’s few institutions promoting photography, along with the Thessaloniki Photography Museum, the Greek Photography Center and the Kythera Photography Meetings. Ministry intervention Talking to Kathimerini, director Vangelis Ioakeimidis appeared optimistic. «The Ministry of Culture, led by Fanni-Palli Petralia and Christos Zachopoulos, intervened so as to provide a solution to the problem,» Ioakeimidis said. «It is most likely that the center will be bound by contract to the Thessaloniki Photography Museum. That legal adjustment will allow money to come in from the Ministry of Culture, even when the municipality is not punctual with its payments.» He added that the center is preparing a day conference, which will account for its actions to the Ministry of Culture. The sigh of relief came in May, when the Municipality of Skopelos finally paid the money due since 2002. At some point it will take care of the sums pending for 2003 and 2004. The Ministry of Culture included the center in its 2005 budget costs, so it received 40 percent of the funds for this year, which translates into 100,000 euros (the money owed for 2004 will be paid later). The money was used to pay some of the providers, reopen the center’s offices with an emergency employee, and organize the exhibition currently on display. During this time, Ioakeimidis did not remain totally inactive, but he was very restricted in his movements. «We tried to do some things,» he told Kathimerini. «We participated, for instance, in the ‘Society of Information’ program, but the previous leaderships of the Ministry of Culture delayed the funds for 12 months. The current leadership seems willing to help out. We are hoping that this is the beginning of a new era for us.» Current exhibition The exhibitions on display in the gym area contain works by Spyros Meletzis, Vassilis Manikakis, Dimitris Letsios, Takis Tloupas, Costas Balafas, Aimilios Serafis and other photographers from the Public Power Corporation (DEI) archives. The tribute has been open to the public since the beginning of August and will run to September 10.