NEON | 10 YEARS OF SHARING CONTEMPORARY CULTURE
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Centering on the city and seeking to bring art to the broadest possible audience, NEON has pioneered an innovative way of working and championed public-private partnership. Over the last ten years, and in line with the philosophy of its founder Dimitris Daskalopoulos, NEON has developed a model for citizen engagement and artist involvement, collaborating with public-sector bodies and other cultural stakeholders to showcase contemporary art in public space as a means of enhancing both the urban environment and the daily lives of citizens.
The launch of NEON in 2013, during the economic downturn, was wholly in keeping with the firm belief of its founder Dimitris Daskalopoulos that economic crisis is but the symptom of a deeply civilisational crisis that Greece now faces. Contemporary art has the capacity to stimulate, inspire, and affect people individually but also to pique the collective consciousness.
Dimitris Daskalopoulos expands on this point: “Through my experience as an entrepreneur, it became clear to me that Greece’s financial circumstances were the outcome of a crisis of a society which failed to tackle constructively the challenges of institutional modernisation and economic development.
The reason why I founded and funded the NEON Organization for Culture and Development was to offer Greek citizens the opportunity to be exposed to the challenges and emotions of contemporary art. It is my firm belief that art is a basic human need and is intelligible to all. Contemporary art and the novel ideas it conveys are able to awaken and motivate both individuals and societies. Exposure to contemporary artistic creation leads to fertile reflection, disrupts stereotypes and broadens perceptions.
Looking back these past 10 years the imprint NEON left on the soul and mindset of the hundreds of thousands of people who chose to follow its course is a conscious or sub-conscious personal asset and hopefully a cumulative collective asset of our society.”
In the words of NEON Director Elina Kountouri: “The NEON approach is best summed up by the phrase ‘our space is the city’. The aim is to constructively enmesh ourselves in the stories and histories of cities, giving artists the opportunity to interact and connect with the public via a broad range of initiatives and spaces, and within varied social and civic contexts. This might involve an act of reclaiming public space (historic buildings, archaeological sites) – of reclaiming our urban environment as citizens. Through NEON, we hope to offer communal cultural experiences that are freely open to all, without limit.”
NEON is committed to engaging the general public, broadening the appreciation and understanding of contemporary art, and to creating welcoming spaces within the urban fabric, freely open to all.
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