CULTURE

Rhodes aims to become 2018 Cultural Capital

The campaign to have Rhodes elected Cultural Capital of Europe for 2018 has got off to a remarkably early and effective start. By the time Rhodes Mayor Giorgos Yiannopoulos announced the campaign to the press at the Benaki Museum on Wednesday, hundreds of artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians and politicians had already signed on to offer their support. Why so early? Rhodes has taken its cue from Cordoba, which began laying its successful claim to be 2016 Cultural Capital 13 years in advance. «This is an opportunity to upgrade the city of Rhodes,» said Yiannopoulos, «and a reason to redefine priorities so as to make culture the focal point of public discourse.» The initiative will take time to pay off but it is an opportunity to adopt a fresh perspective. «It is a beautiful journey that we are beginning,» he said. «We wish to share our excitement with you.» The idea is not only to have Rhodes named cultural capital but also to start a broader dialogue on culture. With its long history, fabulous architectural heritage and ample experience in hosting international events, Rhodes is ideally suited to be Cultural Capital, according to an informal support committee set up through the network of cultural institutions based on Rhodes, including the Ecofilms Festival, the International Writers’ and Translators’ Center of Rhodes, and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rhodes. The website www.rodosculturalcapital.org will operate as an open forum of ideas and suggestions, to which all are invited to contribute. As Lucia Rikaki, artistic director of Ecofilms pointed out, the world of culture is undergoing constant change, and the dialogue instigated and hosted by Rhodes on the Internet and at meetings of artists from all over the world will challenge thinking and be part of that process of change.