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  Nr. 60 - June 2003
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Fine Arts, Fine Words

by Vicki Preston, June 2003
The first official meeting of the new legalized institution of IPAC, the International Paros Art Circle, was held on Thursday, 22nd May at the Pandrossos Hotel in Paroikia. Many of the 21 founding member artists were present, together with Paros' Mayor, Giannis Rangoussis, Councillor Christos Vlachoyiannis, IPAC lawyer Costas Fiflis and gallery owner and artist Dimitris Pantzatidis.

The meeting opened with an a cappella performance by the Vocal Ensemble of the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts under the direction of Orfeas Munsey. With a selection of songs spanning centuries of music and different cultures, they sang the ancient Greek hymn 'Epitaph of Seikilos', two English Renaissance love songs 'Drink to me only with thine eyes' and 'It was a lover and his lass' and a modern composition by American composer Dede Duson 'And you are not alone'.

"The Aegean Center has been training painters, photographers and writers for 37 years on Paros and it was John Pack's vision that music would be added to the curriculum. I have come to Paros to do that" Orfeas told us.

IPAC President Obdulia Lopez-Henriquez thanked everyone for their participation and for their support in helping to see the vision of an international artists' institution on the island become a reality. She introduced the first IPAC board, comprising herself as current President (from Venezuela), Aristides Varrias - Vice-President (from Greece), Armelle Vigy-Vintzileos - General Secretary (from France), Loni Ikonomou - Treasurer (from Germany) and Michaela Ruleta - Councillor (from America). A truly international group! Future IPAC boards will be elected democratically by the members.

"The goal of IPAC is not a commercial one", Obdulia explained, "but it is to give the opportunity to all those who have chosen the path of art to express themselves to feel supported and heard in their needs and expectations. Also to support each other in our development - not only as artists in our different disciplines - but also as individuals on the existential path that brought each of us to the magical island of Paros where we continue to accomplish our life missions.

"We will begin this year with a series of exhibitions to be held in the Aghios Athanasios Gallery in Naoussa where nine of the IPAC member artists will show their work this summer. This exhibition will be organized in cooperation with the Naoussa Centre for People with Special Needs/Abilities (AMEAI) and will also display work by the Centre's pupils.

"We hope in the near future, in collaboration with the Municipality of Paros, to create a permanent multi-discipline exhibition space in Paroikia where we can realize our ambition to make Paros known as a centre for art."

Following Obdulia's introduction, Mayor Rangoussis pledged his support to the newly-formed institution. He stressed that he knew the work of the Aegean School for the Fine Arts has contributed for years to the cultural life of Paros and that he views the formation of IPAC as really important to the future of the island. He went on to say that both he and all the members of the Municipal Council are willing to help actively in any way they can. At a meeting with Obdulia earlier in the week, they had discussed the planned exhibition at Aghios Athanasios and had agreed to do whatever they can to assist and to keep exhibition costs to a minimum.

"I take this movement extremely seriously", he told us "and I will be there step-by-step beside you all the way."

The creation of Paros as an international cultural and artistic centre is one of Rangoussis' stated main objectives as Mayor and he emphasizes that these are not just words, but a commitment coming from a deep-seated belief that ventures of this kind are critical to the future development of our island. Rangoussis' municipal party, if you remember, is called "Unity for the Future" and this evening certainly proved the name appropriate.

Obdulia named the Mayor an Honourary Member of IPAC and in a later ceremony presented her work "Victory" (see front page) in Gicl?e Fine Art (inkjet on canvas) as a donation to the Municipal Council to symbolize their joint aspirations. This gesture is to create a tradition where every four years the new IPAC President will donate a piece of art to the Paros Council.

Further activities to be organized by IPAC in the summer are trips to other galleries, and visits between artists to see one anothers' studios. Artists of all nationalities are welcome to join IPAC. For further information, please contact Obdulia Lopez-Henriquez on 697-3091943 or 22840-22460 or at email obdulia@otenet.gr.
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