The B. & M. Theocharakis Foundation has been created by the well-known Greek businessman and painter, Basil Theocharakis and his wife, Marina, who, after many years of supporting artists and the arts, have decided to create their own cultural space, with the purpose to provide the Greek public and the visitors of Athens with first quality fine arts exhibitions and musical concerts, promoting local cultural life and elevating the cultural level of our country’s society. Their generosity has not only created this foundation, but also sustained it through the difficult years of the Greek crisis, and continues to do so.
Basil Theocharakis, a pupil of the great Greek artist, Spyros Papaloukas, is a recognized painter in his own right that has exhibited in Paris, Rome, Athens and other world cities.
The Director of the Foundation, Dr Fotis Papathanasiou, is a prominent figure of the Greek cultural milieu. He has served as Deputy Mayor of Athens on Culture and International relations, where he created, among other achievements, the Technopolis Cultural Center and the Maria Callas Museum, he was Vice President of the Greek national Opera and was for many years a collaborator of the French Minister of Culture Jack Lang. He has transformed the Theocharakis Foundation to a much-praised Cultural Workhouse in Athens.
We have asked him to describe the activities of the Foundation.
The B. & M. Theocharakis Foundation has organized, during the last nine years, more than 30 painting exhibitions, including both Greek and international painters from the 16th century until today. Among them a Still Life exhibition in collaboration with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, a Saint Petersburg Masters exhibition in collaboration with Manege Museum of Saint Petersburg and a Picasso-Cocteau exhibition in collaboration with the Picasso Museum Münster. A series of exhibitions has also been produced with the National Gallery of Athens presenting the finest Greek painters and many other exhibitions, produced exclusively by the Foundation, containing numerous premiers of paintings and pertaining to private collections, never before exhibited to the public. An important factor in our work is the educational, pedagogical aspect of the exhibitions, where most of them not only meet the highest standards of aesthetic quality, but reveal historical and social aspects of the Greek and international society. We also provide a permanent exhibition of a part of our most valuable collection of works by the great modern Greek painter, Spyros Papaloukas.
Our series of concerts, famous in Athens as the “Musical Thursdays”, present mostly piano and chamber classical music, organized, again, for pedagogical reasons, in thematic cycles such as “Poetry and Music”, “Musicotheatrical Monographs” presenting great artists, “Romantic Piano”, “Love in Music”, “Nature in Music”, “Classical Theatre Music”, etc.
We also produce more than 60 different series of educational programs, addressed to all ages from 2 to 102 years old and a great variation of conferences on the philosophy, art, theatre, history, psychology and other relevant subjects.
Through our ArtShop, we are not only trying to cover some of the expenses, but by presenting the works of accomplished artists we are trying to introduce to the Greek society the idea that art is something to live with and not only to fathom in awe in a museum. It is for the same purpose we organize our Sleepovers for our younger visitors.
Merlin Café is a warm and quite haven in the center of Athens, where gastronomy is given honor due as an art.
In this framework, during the last nine years, we have presented more than 3000 cultural events. We have become –and it was our purpose- a cultural hub for families living in the center of Athens, but also we have welcomed thousands of tourists who are really eager to learn about modern and contemporary Greek art, in order to acquire a more global view of Greek art history.