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A different project for downtown Athens

28 September 2011 / 22:09:56  GRReporter
4909 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

In recent years, from a friendly place where the residents and visitors could go for a walk and entertain, the centre of Athens has become a very dangerous area, and recently even a ghetto. However, while some of the residents of Athens believe that only police could cope with the situation, a group of Athenians decided to disprove this theory. From September 30 to October 2, the positive energy of people determined to resume their relationship with the city, to get to know each other and make it better will capture the centre of Athens.

The Center Project is an idea of Angelon Vima - a meeting point between the East and the West, where every art find its form of expression. "At the beginning of each creative year we organize an event. This year we decided to do something for our city and ourselves," told GRReporter Margarita Dalamanga - Kalogirou.

"We are all residents of Athens and know very well why the centre, which is the heart of the city, is empty. We want the city to be alive, people to stroll in it together. Our goal is not to make difference between the people who live in Athens and those who work there. I think the problem is only those who cause damage, acting in an unlawful manner. Our goal is neither to chase, nor to be against anyone. Our goal is to go out in our city and become a living part of it after a long period of not doing it."

The organizers offer a wide selection of events that will attract the interest of various people.  They will take place in the city centre, which covers the area from Agiyas Irinis Square to Koumoundourou Square, from the grove of Tissier to Keramikos parks and the narrow streets in Psiri to Metaksourgio.

"We decided to walk around our city with a sense of joy, to know the unknown places. We will go to the Museum of Athena and will learn the very long history of the city. We will organize a bike ride with a guide to various places in the city, where famous persons lived and we know nothing about it. We will play gym and relax with Dionisis Tsitselis from the Greek Academy of Tai Chi Chuan, who will show us how to cope with everyday stress.

During the weekend, in the Angelon Vima building, we will show films by famous filmmakers who have made films for Athens and the life in this city in order to get acquainted with our city  through the eyes of others. In the Psiri neighbourhood we found a great wall and decided to paint it to give colour to a dark place. In the park near Keramikos, we will hold a competition for board games without prizes in order to feel all children. On Saturday evening, there will be fun on Koumoundourou Square. There will be street theatre, jugglers, DJs. On Friday, there will be a concert featuring performers favourite to people of different ages. On Sunday morning, we will organize puppet theatre festival for children in Agiyas Irinis Square and their parents will be able to wait for them in the cafeterias around. All these events are organized to meet, get to know each other, have fun and be willing to meet again downtown Athens with a feeling of joy and positive thinking."

According to Ms. Kalogirou the idea is to make these meetings regularly and the participants to determine the dates and venues of those meetings themselves.

"We will realize a very interesting and original idea, which is called Greetings from Athens. These are images of Athens, made by Greek photographers in the form of postcards. We will give them to all who will visit Angelon Vima during those three days to send them to whom and where they want. The rest will be distributed. Our goal is to bring people together and begin to organize regular meetings gradually. To meet once a month for example, or as we together decide. Therefore, at the end of those three days, on Sunday evening we will get together and make a reckoning: What anyone of us liked and what was not so good. In parallel, we will show the images each of us has made during the various events that have impressed us to do whatever we can to make our city better. I think that each of us should do whatever we can, not just wait for others to do different things. To behave to other people, hoping they have the same attitude towards us, thus giving positive feelings and respect from all for all, with no aggression and police surveillance. To understand all that all who live in this city want it to be better for us."

According to Margarita Kalogirou, The Center Project is not intended to send away or be aggressive to anyone. "Three years ago, the street on which Angelon Vima is was a very dangerous place because of crime. Nevertheless, from the moment some people opened shops there appeared cafes too. These people bring the culture of the countries they come from and by opening their sites they completely changed the appearance of the street. Now, it is a very nice place and the people come to walk and be nice and not to harm anyone. Moreover, it happened naturally, without violence and tension. Having happened on the Shatobriand Street, why could it not happen in other places in Athens? "

Tags: SocietyAthensCentreEventsConcertMuseumCrimePuppet theatrePark
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