Urban Act 2017, started last week in Volos, Greece. A team of 22 international artists gathered together for a project with a group of 5 social workers.
Urban Act together with Jugend- & Kulturprojekt E.V. tries to exchange knowledge between artists, social workers and the local community. In the first 2 days the group came together in the local community center. In different sessions each artist gave a presentation of their work and their background, this was a great experience for all the artists. Something that doesn’t happen much on the a so called “regular” streetart/mural festivals.
The city of Volos is a coastal and portal city situated midway on the Greek mainland, about 330 km north of Athens. Volos has a big history and a lot of experience with refugees. First with national refugees and later with the refugee crisis we go through the last decades. We visited one of the many museums Volos has to offer, with an exhibition about the history of Volos and the refugee crisis through history.
After the museum visit there was planned trip to eat and drink something in the harbor of Volos. This was a nice way to see some local traditions and to have some interaction between the artists and organization. We ate different kind of small portions of local fish and pastry’s. Which remind most of us of Tapas from Spain. All food comes with a Raki kind of drink with the name “tsipouro” The atmosphere got better and better after each shot of tsipouro.
The next day we made different teams, each team spread over the city, to paint a special chosen project with a social background. 1 team went painting a mural at a school for disabled kids another team went painting in jail for teenagers. Each team had their own unique experience. Which we got shared during the free time we had in the evenings in the hotel.
All teams gave a workshop at their social project, 4 teams painted at different elementary or high schools. With the workshops Urban Act like to achieve that the kids interact with the artists. The parents and the other people of Volos where very friendly and received the artists with open arms. Some just came by to make a photo or say hi but many people came and brought selfmade lunches or amazing chocolate cakes. The experience was a special one for the artists
On Friday evening was the opening of the exhibition organized by Urban Act. All artists gave 1 design to make a museum quality print, all this prints where presented in the same frames. There were dancers and even a special act with fire and fireworks. Lots of locals came to the exhibition and there was a big crowd. Check out the great artist line-up of the exhibition and the event.
APSET, ARTEZ, BIFIDO, BOJAN LACMANOVIC, CEDRIC MAGNIEN, DREYK THE PIRATE, GIACOMO ZORBA – THE OTHER, IVESONE, JAMER, JULIETA.XLF, KEZ, MATTIA CAMPO DALL’PRTO, MILICA DJORDJEVIC, NIKOLA MIHAJLOVIC. OX-ALIEN, PUPET, SIVE, SOKAR UNO, TAXIS, VOLOTOW.819, WUPER and XOLAKA.
The Next few days some artists started with there walls and some others had to wait to get final permission on the walls. There are much worse places to wait so some of the artists took the chance to get to the beach and waited for the local government to give final confirmation. Artez and I got a final confirm for our wall on Sunday morning . Our sketch got the OK we needed. After ordering our materials, the organization planned a nice day trip to a beautiful beach with green blue colored sea and rock where we could dive off. It was a good day to get to know each other as we could hang out, chill and discover a different side of Greece.
Monday Morning Artez and I started at 7:30 with preparing our wall as the scaffolding got built at 10. We went for breakfast from 9 to 10 and as we came back the scaffolding was being build. We needed four floors and the working guys did in a few minutes. Artez and I could not wait to start with the mural. The concept for the wall was initiated by Artez and we fitted the concept to the story we had heard during our visits and time we spend in Volos. The woman looking in the mirror seeing her inner beauty and is open to receive and give a place to all kinds of birds from all over the world to stay with her. She recognized her inner self and her beauty. “you get, who you are”
We painted the mural over 3 days. During the day the kids were there and the loved seeing the progress, some of them spoke some words of English. Milica was with us to give a workshop to some of the kids chosen out of different classes over the school. She taught them how to prepare a wall, how to sketch and how to bring their idea to the wall with paint and brushes. Artez and I helped them in the end to finish the wall with some small details and finishing touches.
As everyone started to get ready fro go home and our next projects, we all understood that we had a special time in Volos. It was a very educational experience where the influence from artists to artist was visible and everyone understood that. We shared our info and even some people shared artworks. Im sure to say that we will see some future collaborations and friendships out of this adventure. I want to thanks the whole team of Urban Act with Kiriakos and Myrto as the leaders for a great time on a sometimes bumpy road. Hope to see you all soon