Since its founding in 1990, ARTOGETHER (Art of People With and Without Disabilities) has offered numerous opportunities for creative activities and inclusion in cultural life to people with and without disabilities, with the aim of insuring equality of access to all.
Art of people with and without disabilities. Because we stress our commitment to ensuring access to artistic activities for everyone, because we want a world where disability is not an issue.
ARTOGETHER Because we believe that people with and without disabilities can and should combine their efforts, and because we have seen that art breaks down barriers and brings people together, overcomes limits and builds bridges between cultures, beliefs and generations. Because every human being has the right and the potential for artistic expression.
ARTOGETHER bases its actions on the following principles that have, as their common denominator, our belief in every human being’s unlimited potential and right to equal opportunities:
- Art is an archetypal and universal language in which humans express their thoughts, ideas, feelings, desires and fears.
- Contact with art and culture enriches and refines our spiritual world.
- Art helps people overcome their personal barriers and builds bridges between cultures and generations
- Every person with a disability, at any age, has the right to enjoy art and to participate, as a creative artist, on an equal footing.
- To provide people with disabilities opportunities for creative expression, that enhance their self-esteem.
- To organize accessible programs that enable people with disabilities to participate in the cultural life of the country.
- To connect individual artists and groups with one another and to organize inclusive artistic events and workshops for disabled and able-bodied people.
- To inform and sensitize persons involved in education, culture and arts on matters concerning disability and accessibility.
- To sensitize state authorities and the wider public as to the right of people with disability to equal access to art and culture, to promote their work and to enhance social inclusion and the acceptance of diversity.
ARTOGETHER is a Non Profit Civil Law Partnership, established in 1990 under article 1462/90 of the Court of First Instance
COUNCIL OF PARTNERS
Despina Aslanidou President
Philareti Papadopoulou Deputy President
Katerina Robertson General Secretary
Marianna Panagiotou Hon. Treasurer
Daphne Economou Member
Eleni Ioannou Member
Katerina Kastrinaki Member
Alexios Karampoikis Member
Chrysoula Styliara Member
Marina Vasiloglou Member
In the past, the following individuals offered valuable services as members of the Council: Iphegenia Benaki, Despina Iamothi, Alexandra Vretou, Nelly Karra, Maria Piperou, Petros Roukoutakis, Liza Pentherouthaki, Photoula Mari.
Very Special Arts Hellas, as our organization was titled up to 2019, was founded in 1990 and for 29 years it was an Affiliate Member of the VSA – International Organization on Arts and Disability
VSA Hellas was and continues to be one of the very few organizations for the disabled in Greece that focuses exclusively on art and culture.
The first step was taken in 1988, when VSA International approached Cerebral Palsy Greece. As CPG considered that this should constitute an independent body, with members from the world of arts and from different disabilities, the Non-Profit Civil Law Partnership VSA Hellas was founded in 1990, with Despina Aslanidou at its head.
Until very recently, VSA Hellas retained a close relationship with VSA International and participated in many international events.
However, in 2011, VSA International merged with the Kennedy Centre of Performing Arts in Washington and continued its operation as the Department of VSA and Accessibility. The consequence of this merging was that the network of affiliated organizations was dissolved, and past partners were no longer allowed the use of the VSA logo and title.
As a result, in 2019, our organization changed its name to ARTOGETHER – Art of people with and without disabilities, a change that coincided with our desire to renew and extend our aims.
UP TO TODAY
Since 1990, VSA Hellas/ARTOGETHER has played a definitive role in extending access to art and culture for persons with disabilities, in the enhancement of public enlightenment and in the promotion of innovative procedures and practices in Greece and abroad.
We have often constituted the connecting link between individual artists and related organizations in the fields of art, culture and disability, through a wide range of activities.
The most important actions to date
|1988||Unofficial launching of Very Special Arts Hellas|
|EU Award to member of the VSA Hellas team|
|1989||First festivity for people with disabilities in Greece: ‘Ariadne’s Twine’|
|1990||Official founding of VSA Hellas|
|Artistic Evening: “A time to perform”|
|1992||Artistic evening: “Masks”|
|Training course for young artists (Horizon) Part I|
|Fund-raising campaign: “Faces and Celebrities”|
|1993||Training course for young artists (Horizon) Part II|
|Commencement of Music-drama group|
|Publication of album: “Faces & Writing”|
|1994||Commencement of Visual Art Group|
|Participation at Art Festival in Washington|
|1997||Commencement of two-year art course at the Goudi Public Special School|
|Commencement of Video workshop|
|Participation in European art exhibition at The Hague|
|1998||The “Ariadne” art programme|
|“Diversity in Art” exhibition|
|1999||Commencement of “Percussion Dance” workshop|
|Official naming of Ariadne Square|
|The “Percussion Dance” workshop in Volos|
|2000||Publication of 2000 Calendar: “Faces & Time”|
|Commencement of Guided Tours Service|
|2001||Commencement of Audio Description Service|
|2002||Commencement of three-year project: ‘Art without limits’|
|Panhellenic Exhibition: ‘Emotions’|
|2004||“Learning about Disability” workshops for staff at cultural centres|
|Production of educational kits for museums|
|Artistic activity: ‘For a wreath’|
|Translation of guide for accessible art exhibitions|
|Participation at Washington Art Festival|
|2006||Honorary Award from the Greek Friends of Museums Association|
|Commencement of Movement Improvisation Group|
|Pilot phase of “Learning by Participating” programme in main stream schools|
|2007||“Learning by participating” programme (phase 1)|
|Participation in documentary: Princess Christina|
|Audio description of films at the ‘Emotion Pictures’ international film Festival|
|Participation at Paris Very Special Arts Festival|
|2008||Accessible performance by actors, dancers and singers with cognitive or learning disabilities|
|Audio description at theatre performances for people with visual impairement|
|Commencement of Drama Playgroup|
|Learning by participating” programme (phase 2)|
|2012||Coming of Age celebration at US Embassy in Athens|
|2013||“Islands of Excellence 2013” Award|
|2015||Commencement of “Music and Movement” Group for Children.|
|2016||25 Years Celebration|
|2018||Commencement of “Travelling Art” Project|
|2019||Change of name from Very Special Arts Hellas to ARTOGETHER|
|2020||Art Project “Who is Honorine Platzer?” inspired by a painting by Toulouse Lautrec. Under the auspices and with the support of the Ministry of Culture|
On Tuesday 19 March 2013, VSA Hellas/ ARTOGETHER was awarded an ‘Islands of Excellence’ award at an official ceremony at the Old Parliament, for our innovative voluntary work. Our Vice Chairman Philareti Papadopoulou accepted the award from the President of the Greek Republic.
Among other distinctions we also received an honorary award from the Friends of Museums Association, for our work in the field of accessibility and for our programmes that aim at equal access to culture for all.
ARTOGETHER offers all its services free of charge, thanks to occasional support received from the state, philanthropic foundations and the public.
- General Secretariat of Youth
- Ministry of Culture
- Ministry of Employment
- E.U Commission
- Stavros Niarchos Foundation
- I.F Costopoulos Foundation
- Marfin Foundation
- TIMA Foundation
- S&B Industrial Minerals S.A.
- PEPSI co
- and numerous individual donors
Significant cultural sites host our activities:
- Athens School of Fine Arts
- OPANDA City of Athens
- Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation
Over the years, VSA Hellas/ ARTOGETHER has organized three important, extremely innovative fund-raising campaigns: “Faces and Celebrities”,
“Faces and Writing”, “Faces and Time’.
The proceeds from the campaigns allowed us to acquire our own premises and covered our expenses for many years.
For the purpose of fund-raising, we also organize events like bazaars, parties and raffle sales.
In 2019, with the publication of our album: ‘Travelling Art’ and its distribution to bookshops, we acquired the legal right to make sales in the open market.
All the proceeds from these activities enhance our artistic activities for people with and without disabilities.