By Bejay Browne
A HISTORIC art college in Paphos has turned to a crowd funding website in a desperate attempt to raise the thousands needed to redevelop the site.
The Cyprus College of art is one of the oldest cultural institutions in Cyprus and was founded in Famagusta in 1969 by well known artist Stass Paraskos with support from Archbishop Makarios.
Now the Cyprus College of Art artists’ studios in Lemba in Paphos urgently need to raise a total of £50,000, for restoration and renovation of the site. Initially they need to raise £10,000 by this summer.
They say their only option to raise vital funds to keep the college open was to team up with Crowdfunder.
The Cyprus College of Art studios in Lemba have been home to thousands of artists and art students from around the world.
“Over the years, so many people and organisations, including President Nicos Anastasiades, have said how wonderful the college is and how proud they are for all it has achieved, but they don’t want to know when we ask for help,” Dr Michael Paraskos, director of the Cyprus College of Art, told the Sunday Mail:
“The time has come for Cyprus to decide if they want to keep part of the cultural heritage or to sit back and watch it disappear.”
Paraskos explained that a variety of ‘thank yous’ would be given for donations made via the site, these include original etchings by Stass Paraskos for donations of £100 or more, and if a generous benefactor donates the entire amount needed, the college campus in Lemba may be named after them.
“We are quoting everything in sterling, as most of our alumni are British.”
Paraskos said that the government originally promised to support a far more ambitious project involving the art college close to a decade ago, but so far no funds have been forthcoming.
“Obviously this help was offered well before the financial crisis and the original plan was to turn Lemba into a cultural village. That was three presidents ago, and not a cent has emerged. We are not expecting them to cough up now.”
He said that, despite weekly phone calls from the village mukhtar to the government, no progress to secure funds has been made.
“Our only hope now is to ask our friends around the world to help save this wonderful place.’
Paraskos says that fund raising for stage one needs to hit a target of £10,000 so that vital work can get underway this summer.
“We need to restore the studios, the kitchen and ancillary services. The structures were initially built using ply wood and chip board which have deteriorated, we need to use more durable materials.”
The studios were built by dozens of artists visiting Cyprus in the 1980s and 90s, including some well known names such as English sculptors Sir Anthony Caro and Rachel Whiteread and the painters Sir Terry Frost, Euan Uglow, Bridget Riley, Clive Head, Mali Morris and HumphreyOcean.
According to Paraskos, a number of art students in the UK came up with the idea to use crowd funding services to raise the cash.
“We already have volunteers from the School of Architecture at the University of Creative Arts ready to do the work, so all the money raised will be used to buy materials.”