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'I was about to cry,' says Greek art advisor after stolen Picasso painting recovered – CBC.ca

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In 2012, Greece succumbed to a nation-wide anguish after three pieces of art were stolen from the National Gallery in Athens. 

Now, Greek police say they’ve arrested a suspect in connection with the heist and have located the missing pieces, except for a sketch by Italian Mannerist Guglielmo Caccia, which police say was flushed down a toilet by the suspect after being damaged. 

The paintings retrieved include Spanish artist Pablo Picasso’s Woman’s Head and Dutch artist Piet Mondrian’s Stammer Mill with Summer House. Picasso gave Woman’s Head to the Greek people to observe the country’s resilience against the Nazis. 

The recovered paintings serve as a triumph to the Greek art community. Stelios Garipis, an art advisor in Greece, is among the many people celebrating their return. 

Listen: Garipis tells As It Happens about the recovered paintings: 

7:00Stelios Garipis tells Nil Köksal about the recovered stolen paintings

Garipis spoke to As It Happens guest host Nil Köksal on Wednesday. Here is part of their conversation. 

Is relief the right word to describe … how you are feeling now that the Picasso and the Mondrian have been recovered? 

Since I am a collector and an art enthusiast, I was thrilled to hear these paintings were found and soon they will be exposed [at the] National Gallery.

Concerning the Picasso painting, it was a national joy, a day of joy, because this Picasso painting was a personal gift to the Greek people. 

Picasso, after World War II, offered this painting…. It was a portrait to Greek people as a recognition for their resistance to Germans and the Nazis.

That’s why it was the painting with not only artistic value, but also a real historic and national value. 

It was the painting with not only artistic value, but also a real historic and national value. – Stelios Garipis, art advisor 

How did the robbery unfold, if you could take us back to nine years ago? 

There were two robbers that entered the building. The guards said that they acted very fast. They grabbed the three paintings and they got out. 

The security guards were sure and they said definitely there were two robbers. Now the police found a man who was allegedly the one robber. And according to his statements, it was a one-man show.

And for nine years, he was trying to [figure out] what he’s going to do with these paintings. He didn’t have, according to his statement, an objective. … He just had these paintings at his house.

Stelios Garipis is an art advisor who works at auction houses and museums in Athens, Greece. (Submitted by Stelios Garipis)

He said he was an art lover, as I understand it. 

According to his Twitter account that we’ve started following, he was following all auction houses…. He was following all the litigations concerning the stolen artworks.

And he was an art dealer. Something like that. He was presented as an art dealer. Now, according to his defence, he was a construction worker. But no one believes this.

What happens next in terms of the case? 

We are waiting for the next hearing, which is scheduled for [Thursday]. And I am very curious to listen to his statements and his defence concerning the third painting.

The Picasso left, and the Mondrian are displayed by police officers in Athens during a press conference on Tuesday. (Petros Giannakouris/The Associated Press)

The mystery continues in some ways — in a lot of ways. But how did police finally figure out who they believe had these paintings? How did police get to the bottom of the case? 

We still don’t know, since the inquiry is still secret. We don’t know how they managed to arrest him.

He was about to fly to Amsterdam and he was arrested and he indicated to the policeman the place where he had hidden the two of these stolen paintings. Because, as he said, he was embarrassed. He was really embarrassed after some newspaper articles concerning the case last February. 

What finally is it going to feel like for you, Mr. Garipis, to see the Picasso hanging, as it should, inside the gallery? 

It will be a very big relief for me because when I heard the news, I started shouting in the street … I started shouting like crazy. I was about to cry.

This painting has the value of the Guernica painting. It reminds [me] of my people’s, Greek people’s, fight against Nazism during World War II. It’s a Picasso painting, after all. 

My son has never seen the Picasso painting in Greece. We have to go to parties, we have to go to Barcelona to see Picasso paintings. It’s the only Picasso painting in Greece. 


Written by Keena Alwahaidi. Interview produced by Niza Lyapa Nondo. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.


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Open Studios and Drive-By Art returns to Jamestown on August 7 – What'sUpNewp

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Open Studios and Drive-By Art returns to Conanicut Island on Saturday, August 7 from 10 am – 5 pm. Jointly hosted by the Jamestown Arts Center (JAC) and Conanicut Island Art Association (CIAA), Open Studios is a one-day, island-wide event where participating artists invite the public into their studios or to see their work outside while passing by. 

There are more than 30 participating artists across the island as well as groups of artists with pop-up displays at Out of the Box Studio and Gallery and behind the JAC on Douglas Street. From 10 am to 3 pm at the Community Mural Wall at the JAC, all are welcome to join in a participatory project called the “People’s Patchwork,” which will offer coloring sheets based on the Ohio Star quilting pattern.  

Participating artists of Open Studios and Drive-By Art include: Shirley Bell, Coffee Bell, Kathleen Caswell, Rose M Chase, Clancy Designs Glass Studio, Bernie Courtney, Daniel Dunn, Joannie Ellie, David Gagnon, Joanne Koehler, Deb Lichtenstein, Sue Mailloux, Jody Pandelidis, Wilson Pollock, Elaine S Porter, Christopher T Terry, Ernie Wulff, Honest Forms, Jillian Barber, Looking Upwards, Peter Diepenbrock, Peter Marcus, Kelly McDermott, Rick Meli, Out of the Box Studio and Gallery, Melanie Saunders, Susan Schaffer, Gillian Stoneburner, Didi Suydam, Brad Vaccaro, and Christi Work. 

Maureen Coleman, Executive Director of the JAC, explains “Last summer, we expanded the number of participating artists and added outdoor Drive-By Art as a way to bring art to the community during the peak COVID-19 restrictions. The community was so enthusiastic that we are continuing with that expanded format this summer. Jamestown is home to so many talented artists, so it’s exciting to have this one day of special inside access to their studios and artwork. With more than 30 artists participating, there’s a huge variety of artwork to explore!”

An interactive tour map is available on the JAC’s website: jamestownartcenter.org/events/open-studios. It provides full details on participating artists, their location, hours, and more. Flyers will be available at the JAC beginning at 10 am on August 7 or the map can be accessed on your mobile phone for point-to-point directions. In case of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled to Sunday, August 8 from 10 am – 5 pm. 

At a Glance: 

WHO: Jamestown Arts Center (JAC) and Conanicut Island Art Association (CIAA) bring together 30+ local artists

WHAT: Open Studios and Drive-By Art

WHERE: Artist studios throughout Jamestown, detailed map available at jamestownartcenter.org/events/open-studios 

WHEN: Saturday, August 7, 10 am – 5 pm (rain date on Sunday, August 8) 

The Jamestown Arts Center is a multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts space that hosts art exhibits, theatre, dance and musical performances, film screenings, and educational programming including artist talks and hands-on art classes for all ages. The JAC opened in 2010 in a former boat repair shop redesigned by award winning architects Estes/Twombly. Since 2014, it’s won 5 of Rhode Island Monthly’s ‘Best of Rhode Island’ awards, including the Editor’s Pick for Outdoor Art in 2021.

Programming partners include: Heifetz International Music Institute, FirstWorks, RISCA, FabNewport, RISD, Manhattan Short Film Festival, SENE Film Festival, Spectrum Theatre, Providence Art and Design Film Festival, Island Moving Company, the Jamestown Schools, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, The Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. in Acting & Directing Program and many individual artists and local organizations. The Jamestown Arts Center has quickly become a leading arts and cultural hub for Rhode Island and beyond, where creativity, ideas, and innovation flourish. For more information visit: jamestownartcenter.org

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By Robynblair Talks The Art Of Merchandise And Collaborations – Forbes

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Making a living as an artist today isn’t easy. Financial success is extremely rare. Merchandise and collaborations are two of the best ways to spread brand awareness and establish a loyal customer base. And no one has mastered this quite the way Instagram’s “Candy Artist” Robyn Blair Davidson aka by robynblair has.

With prices for her work starting at $3200 for an original 16 x 24 inch piece, these ventures have allowed the artist’s brand to grow. “Many collectors absolutely start off high-end and become repeat customers whenever I have a new drop. However, I know that other clients are saving up for their first custom piece, but get their fix on the lower price-point items,” Davidson tells me. 

Sweet Beginnings

After her brand started to grow in popularity in 2018, the artist launched her first collaboration with Name Glo. “I was a client of theirs before I started by my brand. Right in the beginning, the founders and I went to lunch and I told them about my art and how happy I was about the piece I made for myself. Right then and there we decided to join forces, making my pieces with their neon on top.” 

That grew into a pop-up at American Two Shot in Soho, which then turned into a spot at the Affordable Art Fair with Art Star. “As luck would have it, the Vice President of Home from Bergdorf Goodman walked through, saw our pieces, and asked us to be their next Artist in Residence. It was an incredible journey and I was so glad to do it together with Name Glo.”

Davidson feels she made smart business decisions from the beginning, and expanding the brand early was a logical step. “It was important to me that from the beginning I could offer different price points to my clients. My goal at the end of the day is truly to make people happy and smile through my art and my designs.”

Making Art Accessible

Davidson has always felt it’s important to diversify her offerings because it allows as many people as possible to enjoy her work. “I love that I can offer the principles behind my brand at various price points. It’s huge for taking a business like mine to the next step, especially since the core product is on the higher end.” 

The theme and vibe of Davidson’s work truly lends itself to a variety of products and merchandise. For example, the lollipop swirl placemats and coasters coordinate perfectly with her art. 

The cake serving set is another example of her sophisticated approach to brand expansion. While it is packaged in a sprinkle print box, the pieces have modern white handles and the blade features Davidson’s signature statement box reading “Eat Cake.” At $85, it’s accessibly priced and a great introduction to the brand.

But Davidson is extremely particular. She doesn’t just slap her name or branding on any product. “I like to start with the story,” she says, “For me, if there isn’t a good story behind a piece or collection, it isn’t worth building out. For example, with the Hostess Collection, the story was that we all wanted to gather again. And with our placemats and coasters, I made sure that your gathering would be that much sweeter.”

There are also has several less expensive, giftable merchandise offerings including baseball caps, iPhone cases she designed with Off My Case, as well as puzzles.

The Queen Of Collaboration

Davidson has collaborated and co-branded a list of products. This includes Mini Melanie cookie boxes, Baby Noomie children’s pajamas, Apparis furry flip-flops, as well as with Stephanie Gottlieb on a jewelry box.

Most recently, the artist created keepsake acrylic boxes with celebrity-lauded brand BondEye Jewelry (Olivia Rodrigo and Gabrielle Union are fans) on a box that was sent out to their VIP customers. “I love projects like this, especially when I know my art will be seen by new people and used in a special way. I’m also a huge fan of Jess [Klein, the founder] personally and professionally,” she tells me. 

Still, Davidson is still very particular about who she works with. “It’s important for me to make sure the collab makes sense for both brands, and do more long-term ventures together instead of the quick, one-offs that are definitely tempting, but not as sweet.”

Three Cheers 

In summer 2021, Davison launched a line of Spritzy Rosé with Cooper’s Hawk featuring three colorful ombre-style labels. She was also very involved with product development, even doing a tasting with Tim McEnery, who founded the brand. “The Cooper’s Hawk collab was the dream scenario for me,” the artist says. “I love rosé and was so excited when they reached out to me. The team at Cooper’s Hawk offered me complete creative control, which was both gratifying and humbling. Together we made a set of wine that I am incredibly proud of.”

Cooper’s Hawk Winery produces approximately 700k cases of wine each year and has received over 500 awards in various local, national, and international wine competitions.

What’s Next

As for the future, Davison plans to continue her very successful business model. “I am very intentional with the projects I pursue, and make sure that in each category I partner with the best or I consult with experts to make sure everything I launch is a success. I am very proud of this because I know how easy it is to spread yourself thin and just do it all.”

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Culture camp teaching about world through art – Toronto Star

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Habitat of the Arts is open for the summer and with that comes all of their amazing new camps.

A new camp that just started this year is the culture camp

Habitat usually has art camps, even theatre camps, but they felt that they were missing something.

With the unfortunate events of COVID the past year, Jasper hasn’t had many of its usual international visitors.

“It may not have much to do with our youth, but the whole community cannot help but feel that void,” said Marianne Garrah, director of Habitat for the Arts.

Heritage Canada has come out with some grants to renew and revive the arts.

“Why not make art more visible when our visitors return? How can we do that? How can we include our youth?” Garrah asked.

And with that came the first year of the culture camp.

Habitat noticed a need to engage our youth in art and education and build towards an appreciation for the world that chooses Jasper for their holidays.

Tina Byrd will be running the camp. She has designed the program on what she would have loved to have had access to when she was young.

“Imagine being 10 and being given all the tools and paint and inspiring enthusiastic instructor and the freedom to just do,” Garrah said.

Besides running the culture camp, Byrd also works at the elementary school.

The culture camp is all geared towards learning about the world through the power of art.

Jasper relies a lot on its visitors. But how much do youth know about where they come from?

“How do we ensure our youth appreciate the cultures that come here?” Garrah asked.

The culture camp has guests coming to share their real-world experiences with the youth.

A couple of the cultures that the youth will learn about will be Mexico, Indigenous Canada and Africa. Each day, they will also get to try food from the country of the day.

The camp is similarly designed from the multicultural night that Habitat of the Arts ran in previous years.

The camp starts on Aug. 2 and will run up until Aug. 13, ending with a fair in the park, weather permitting.

The kids will be designing their own “fair” throughout the duration of the camp.

“I think we underestimate the potential to consult youth when it comes to community engagement,” Garrah said.

The kids will get to make masks, paint like impressionists, create mandalas and learn about colour and even Bhangra dance.

The camp will highlight the need for youth to engage in the arts for diversity and inclusion.

The youth will be distanced for health and safety and making as much art as they can in the nine days.

There are only a few spots left, so contact arts@iotad.ca for details.

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