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The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts

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The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts Programs

Greece

The Spring Session in Paros, Greece

The Spring Session is held at our permanent facility on the Greek island of Paros. Paros is situated in the Cycladic group of islands, 100 miles southeast of Athens. Partly...

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Italy

The Fall Session in Italy and Greece

The Fall Session at the Aegean Center is designed to expose students of the arts to the contemporary life and history of two centers of civilization, Greece and Italy. It...

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Greece

Craft of Watercolor Summer Workshop

The two-week long Craft of Watercolor workshop at The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts on the island of Paros in Greece focuses on methods of developing watercolor painting...

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Greece

Innovations for Oil Painters and the Solvent Free Studio

For those painters who are looking for a more responsive paint and who would like to move away from solvents and chemicals in the studio. After years of research, practice...

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Greece

Illustration for Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Learn all about Illustration for Comic Books and Graphic Novels at The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts in Paros, Greece. By combining the expressiveness of visual art and...

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Greece

Figure Drawing Intensive Summer Workshop

The Figure Drawing Intensive Two-Week Summer Workshop takes place at the Aegean Center's permanent facility on the Greek island of Paros. For upcoming program dates, please...

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Greece

The Craft of Fine Digital Photography Summer Workshop

The Craft of Fine Digital Photography at The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts is an intensive two-week summer workshop on the digital photography process. From image capture...

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The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts Reviews

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A great summer experience

This was a wonderful course. The professor, Jun-Pierre Shiozawa is a talented artist, proficient in the art of watercolor. He shared everything he knew with our intimate class of 5. Though we all came to the table with differing backgrounds in art, the size of the class allowed for Jun to give us all personal attention.

Class days would typically consists of learning technique in the classroom in the morning before a break during the hottest hours of the day (easily enough time for a quick dip in the Aegean and a bite of lunch), and an excursion to a different beautiful location to paint each day. Jun and the school have great friends and connections on the island, and the class gained the full benefit of that as we were able to visit beautiful private gardens and studios and meet some wonderful locals living on the island.

The food on the island is wonderful, with breakfast included at a local café located on the walk to school and on the main street under a welcoming tree. Studios were minimal and clean, located in a flower-planted hotel with a welcoming courtyard. The studio kitchen allowed me to cook simple meals, typically consisting of some local cheese, veggies, bread, and meat. The school itself is housed in an historically significant and beautifully renovated neoclassical building.

I went in to the course having never painted before and came out much more confident in my ability to sketch and watercolor. I can't recommend this program enough!

Program: Craft of Watercolor Summer Workshop

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A formative experience

After attending the fall session at the Aegean Center in 2011, I changed my plans for the spring to be able to return for another semester. I came as a gap-year student and I learned as much about living a fulfilling life as I did about art through this program. The learning environment is unique for many reasons, including the age range of students and the passion of the teachers.

The course is run by engaged, talented professors who are practicing artists outside of the classroom. The school is small enough that instruction is personalized and allows for teachers to adapt content and pace to individual students. Classes are serious and students are expected to work both inside and outside of the classroom. Local Greeks often take classes as well and introduce the students outside of the school to the local community. I took informal classes in Greek language and dancing, and made friends with many of the locals.

Paros is a beautiful island with a great nightlife. I found the earlier winter/spring months to be particularly inspiring as the island was much quieter and more conducive to focusing on work. All of the students had basic private studio apartments that were comfortable and clean. The buildings are part of a private hotel planted with beautiful flowers and centered around a courtyard, so the area is relatively safe, yet within a 2 minute walk of the city center.

I can't recommend this program enough for serious students looking to learn about art and life with inspiring teachers in a beautiful location.

Program: The Spring Session in Paros, Greece

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

The door of paradise!

Hi everyone !
My name is Eleni, and when I was 16 I had to choose sports or arts, I chose sports! Finished with this career . And then then , I came to live in Paros!
Working like a real estate agent, encouraged people to change their lives and come for a short or a long time to live in Paros! I was looking for the Aegean center school and finally I found it, and I was at the back yard under the trees, smelling the lavenders, talking with a wonderful lady! After 10 minutes the director crossed the yard door and asked me, "are you Eleni?". I stood up and I said yes! "Ha! I see that you already talk with Jane", he said. I was shocked as I had planned a different way to introduce myself to my teacher!

But she met ME! My real me! My half ME! Because the other half it was unexplored ! Missing! Unknown ! And we started with basic drawing!and then, few months later with painting! And that continued for about 7 years! Through the paints, the colors. The tones, the grays , the values , the graduation, the form , the structure, the scale, the movement the stillness the light and the shadow I explore art! The art of be myself! The art of living in this world, in this reality, but as the writer Nikos Kazantzakis said: you have the brush, you have the colors, create the paradise and get in! So, that's what I learned! And my lessons aren't finished yet! I wanted to stay there forever( at the school) Be a student forever, have someone to support me forever! And now, one more Kazanrzakis: The good teacher is creating bridges for his student, but when the student passes, he destroy the bridges behind him! So, last year Jane graduates me! Ha... The bird was out of the nest ! How can I fly? Where To go? How? So, I fly! And it's wonderful! It's beautiful to have your own strong wings! It's not that I am not afraid, some times I am! The point is, that I can fly! I don't know if I'll ever be a world's famous artist! If the next generations are going to remember my name! What I know is that I learned how to live like an artist in the biggest art piece! On earth with values, joy, and maturity, and a full pallet and tools! And all started here! At the center of the Aegean sea, in the school for the fine arts! Thank you aaaaall for the lessons. Including all the wonderful students that became my friends and I expand my heart all over the world! I'm really grateful and Thank you!!

Program: The Fall Session in Italy and Greece

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing program in an amazing place

The Aegean Center was a life altering experience for me. The quality of teaching and the small class sizes made learning easy, fun, and fulfilling. The staff at the Aegean Center were friendly, helpful and wonderful. Living in Paros, Greece and learning art is the making of a magical experience. The Aegean Center has helped me find my voice as an artist and a human being living in this beautiful world.

Program: The Spring Session in Paros, Greece

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    9

Italy: Indulgence in Art, Food, Architecture and Self

I could never have imagined the experience offered by The Aegean Center's Italy program, and nothing I say here could prepare anyone for how truly perfect it is - but I'll try anyway!

The title I chose explains the first half of why this program is so incredible: it is indulgence, yes, but in the best sense of the word. Italy itself is a treat, filled to the brim with richness, beauty, and light. What if one could experience the best of it all? The director and his staff, a family of artists, have purposely sifted through Italy's many luxuries and selected the ideal a program composed of their experience made for students. With an intimate staff of five to six teachers and approximately 20-25 students each semester, the group remains small enough to receive real one-on-one instruction and keeps touring simple. For example, for the majority of the Italy Session, students and staff live together in a 16th century villa in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, just outside of Pistoia. The villa alone offers an experience out of time, and includes the best Tuscan dinners, made by local women, each night! Staying at this villa, one can truly let go of the outside world to indulge in history and in the now.

Everyone involved gets to be an artist, even if for the first time in life. The teachers are all practicing artists themselves, teaching out of true understanding and respect for the past in the classical method "reborn" in Italy's Renaissance. A time where artists came from a working tradition (originally simple tradesman) means that anyone can draw, paint, become an artist with dedication, practice, and passion. The Aegean Center continues that tradition: anyone and everyone can be an artist. Their courses, which begin during the Italy portion of the semester, focus mainly on photography, oil and watercolor painting, basic and figure drawing, writing workshop, art history, vocal performance, and literature. To continue in pure indulgence, after each villa feast, students are invited to read together Dante's "La Vita Nuova," a great work that preceded his "Divine Comedy" and introduces his Beatrice. All of this takes place without ever needing to leave the villa, but The Aegean Center does not stop there.

What they offer goes beyond touring: it is living, eating, breathing the Italy that developed out of the Renaissance, and in that method they teach a full understanding one simply cannot grasp in a typical classroom. Students travel to Pistoia and Florence often, as the closest cities to the villa; take day trips to Sienna and Pisa; and also get to experience longer overnight trips to both Venice and Rome. In each location, students view many artworks "in situ" (in their original locations) and others in Italy's rich museum collections, accompanied by lectures brought to life by their surroundings. Students may take notes or sketch or simply listen - whatever each student chooses to best ingest the experience. While touring together takes up most of each day, there is always time for students to wander either together or individually for lunch or sketching or photographing as they please. And in typical Italy fashion, coffee and gelato breaks are common occurrences. My first semester with The Aegean Center, I arrived with virtually no background in art history, and while I found the amount of information overwhelming at times, I discovered in the years following that much of what I learned in that first month stayed with me, especially through the stories I can still picture: in Florence's Duomo, or rather Brulleschi's; in Pope Julius II and Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling; in Venice's Accademia Museum alongside Giovanni Bellini's masterpieces; walking through Rome's Campo di Fiori; and more. The stories and the memories stay, no matter what experience follows.
The Italy portion of the semester fills up most of September, finishing in Rome and finally Athens, allowing the complete experience of the Renaissance through a look at its roots and that of all Western culture. The few days in Athens is only the first taste of Greek art history, which continues on Paros, but its enough to see the most important sites and adjust to an even earlier time.

The trip to Paros begins the second portion of the semester - a very different pace, and yet equally as wonderful experience as that in Italy. The most striking part, perhaps, is suddenly everyone has their own apartment, and schedule, and freedom. Students now select more specifically which courses and art forms they want to focus on, keeping in mind that each one sets his or her own limits. Students may take as many courses as they choose, with very few scheduling conflicts, allowing the continuation of a well-rounded education. The weeks are bookended with the whole group coming together again: Monday morning brings the weekly meeting and news of what the week will bring, and every Friday offers a hike into the landscape of Paros (or Antiparos!).
The hikes may not sound appealing, especially to those unaccustomed to outdoor activity, but they are, in fact, one of the best aspects of the whole program. If only I could explain... well, imagine following in the footsteps of an ancient tradition down into the earth through the ancient marble quarry of Paros. Imagine walking through groves of olive trees that have existed exactly as they stand for hundreds to literally thousands of years. Imagine rediscovering the cave believed to be where the ancient poet Arkilokos (Archilochus) wrote some of his poems in the same era as Sappho. Imagine walking the ancient Byzantine roads, still snaking through the Parian landscape, visited only by the occasional tourist, farmer, or donkey. Even without the incredible history that accompanies these hikes or the breathtaking beauty of the terraced hills and Aegean Sea, the hikes bring peace that only conferring with nature can bring. They can be artistic inspiration through the colors, sounds, and light; they can be developing poems with a cadence that follows each step; or they can simply help each person live in their own thoughts, presently. Hikes mean many things to each individual who chooses to take them - yes, they are optional. But I rarely saw anyone miss them. I certainly never did.

Regardless of their students' previous backgrounds (artists, art historians, gap-year teens, those already in or retired from major careers, etc.), The Aegean Center's Italy Session opens a new chapter in life and understanding. Courses address every level of expertise (including complete beginners), and with small student groups, professors give lots of individual attention to students and their work. Only the best in facilities and materials are tolerated and offered at The Aegean Center - from printers to paper to paints and more. The main building and full campus integrates beautifully into Paros' port town, Parikia, and is walking distance from all student apartments (as are all the stores and conveniences students may need). The town welcomes The Aegean Center students as a part of the well-respected tradition they represent. Students receive discounts at many cafes and restaurants around town too.

The Paros experience becomes entirely what each student wants to make it for his or herself. Whether one arrives as a very serious artist, intending to create a portfolio for later use; a gap-year student, trying to discover what to do next in life, or simply just get everything possible out of the experience; or perhaps something between the two, The Aegean Center offers an unlimited experience, full of opportunity to learn and grow. The exploration of "Self," as another piece to my title, is a part of the experience that comes without attempt, it simply develops throughout each student's semester individually. This is not to say some sort of mystical thing is happening without one's knowledge, it is to emphasize that studying at The Aegean Center is not just a vacation, it is meant for those looking to grow, looking for something to shift in their lives. John Pack, the director of The Aegean Center for the past thirty years, hand picks his students by application and through one-on-one communication, as he is very careful in creating the right environment for his students and his school. I mention this not to discourage anyone from applying, but rather to emphasize the special quality this program offers. I have yet to discover anything quite like it.
Even now, years later, I am happy to give my personal account and word that this is the best experience I have ever had and could ever imagine.

Program: The Fall Session in Italy and Greece

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