Aegina Arts Center, 1973

Sometimes I feel the need to reminiscence. In July 1973 I attended the Aegina Arts Center, on the island of Aegina for one month. Having no knowledge of Greek politics, I didn’t realize the country was being run by the Junta or Military Dictatorship. We quickly learned from our student advisor about the political situation. We were a group of mostly Americans at an Arts Center and we didn’t really have a clue about Greek politics. My rented room faced a pistachio orchard and to the right was a prison, where dozens of political prisoners were sent by the Junta. There were open windows, with bars, and the men would take small mirrors and put their arms out the bars and reflect the sun towards us on our balcony. It was haunting. Our news came from “The Athens News” a daily paper, which you could buy at only one Kiosk. You had to say to the Kiosk owner, “Athens News”, and he would carefully slide it through the little window, folded so no one would see the name. It seemed very undercover at the time. Half way through the program, the word came down to us at the Arts Center that the Police were not happy with our wardrobes. Short skirts were frowned upon. I bought the pink dress on Hydra. Tourist shops were selling short dresses, you just weren’t suppose to wear them, in Greece at any rate. I think our naive ways served us well in some strange way. Today we have all the news on our phones, everywhere and all the time. If we were up on our international political news in 1973, half the students probably would not have gone to Greece. A year later, on 24 July 1974, the dictatorship ended. In 1979, Oriana Fallaci published the book, “A Man” about her relationship with Alexandros Panagoulis, the attempted assassin of Greek dictator George Papadopoulos. It was one of the best books I have ever read. Panagoulis was imprisoned while we were at the Arts Center. It’s a long time ago, but I remember that month quite like it was yesterday. Some things you experience in Greece get imprinted into your memory like no other.

cb Hydra 1973

Aegina Arts Center

11 thoughts on “Aegina Arts Center, 1973

  1. I was at the Aegina Arts Center at about the same time! I was only 12, traveling with my mother. Gregory Corso was poet in residence that summer, and Buckminster Fuller came to speak.

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  2. I was there at that time as well. I shared a room over a shell gas station with 2 women from oklahoma Diane Born and Missy Whitehill. I remember the awful hotel called the Miranda where “studies” were held. I remember meeting Buckminster Fuller and of course Gregory Corso, and Vija Vetra. I was in a play held on the grounds of the hotel. I stepped on a live wire right before the show, and I remember being shocked. my lines were ” Lapped by water, this daughterly island is a harbor and an arbor of love. No fire? in his ire will hurl rocks and reproof from above. ” Memory sure is funny. Christopher Gear was the headmaster.

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    • So interesting that you have such vivid memories also. I lived in a studio room with two girls from California, behind the waterfront, near the prison. We overlooked a pistachio grove. I have wonderful memories of that place, including the somewhat run down Miranda, I painted outside in the terrace, so I barely remember the interior of the place. I’m glad you found this blog and commented. All the best.

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  3. Hi to everybody. My name is N. Koukoulis and I live at Aegina. I am local history researcher. I read very interesting informations about “Aegina Art Center”. Have you maybe any photos of this summer school? I’d be so happy if you send me (of course I won’t use them commercially)

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      • Thank you very much. I’m not interested, of course, for some persons but some general views at the places of the activities and the lessons or the city. It would be so kind of you. They’ll not be used commercially and if I publish them on my blog I will refer you as my surce. My email address is nkoukoul(at)otenet(dot)gr. THANK YOU

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