Another missed opportunity

Rebecca Kamhi, who has not ceased her commercial activity and is seeking a new location, is also bitter about the developments in Psyrri. She will probably also end up in Metaxourgeio. «I feel sad,» she said. «Psyrri has become an endless string of bouzouki joints, a gigantic cafe haunt with artificial bricks. There could instead have been more art galleries, stylish restaurants, bookstores with art books and outlets selling attractive artifacts. A real artistic neighborhood with interesting inhabitants. The rents are so high now that no one dares come near the place. The survival of the galleries is also a matter of location. The galleries could serve an educational role: The public may not buy the first year but then activity would increase and they might buy something the second year, a wedding gift for example. It was a meeting point. Metaxourgeio will now become the new Psyrri. I hope the municipality shows more concern and the same thing doesn’t happen.» Pantelis Arapinis has a different point of view: «Many galleries have indeed left but new ones have opened. The truth is that many art galleries moved from Kolonaki rather suddenly and with very little thought. There was no study. It was coincidental. Not surprisingly, some things did not go well. We all know that the turnover of galleries selling modern art in Greece is very low. I don’t think Metaxourgeio can be called the next Psyrri. Reopening a gallery that you closed several years ago in another area is not setting a trend, whereas moving to another area when the gallery is still open can be considered setting a trend.» But the Kalfayian brothers have opened a new gallery on an attractive ground floor in the Kolonaki district, on Haritos Street (between Irodotou and Loukianou streets). «We believe in the center. It never loses value. Our clients want easy access. When they enter a stylish environment it makes them feel good. They can see our displays and then arrange their night out,» they said.

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