The Athens Schools of Fine Arts (ASFA) –as it is accessible by the broader social classes - operates in a continuous dialectic, nourishing and regenerating relationship with society, recognising the special and significant role it plays in promoting art and culture in general and in shaping the aesthetics that mitigate political and social malaises. The objective of the ASFA - apart from its educational work - is to cover the social changes and the changes in the labour market, without this meaning that social developments are not under an on-going critical reflection; through its dialectic relation with the society it proposes its own priorities and coordinates.
The sensitivity of the ASFA to the various social calls is known i.e. the refugee issue (participation in the refugee children education, meetings offering artistic employment to refugee children at its workshop premises etc.) which is both an educational action as well as a sign of social solidarity.
The social dimension of the ASFA is expressed through actions towards the society, strengthening, thus, its role in the production procedure. A significant artistic and educational event was the recent collaboration of the ASFA with documenta, for the organisation of the biggest documenta 14 of international interest that was attended by numerous people interested in visual arts in Greece. The organisation of visual exhibitions is an active initiative, an reciprocal contribution that is owed to society and constitutes the constitutional duty of the ASFA.
In the framework of the ASFA social mission, a special reference to its Educational Annexes is worth making (Artistic Stations); they operate in seven towns in Greece (Delphi, Hydra, Rethymnon, Rhodes, Mytilene, Tsepolovo) to strengthen the educational artistic mission of the School (educational/ teaching visits, thematic workshop exercises, seminars, lectures) but also to exist as significant artistic, cultural and social pillars of the areas where their seat is but also the greater areas. The building annexes of Hydra, Rhodes and Mithimna are monuments with a significant architectural and historical value. It is noted that the Kralli-Komninaki mansion housing the Art Station of Mithimna operates as a museum due to its particular folk elements and murals and is part of the visiting programme of the Municipality.
At the ASFA Artistic Stations, targeted artistic, science and cultural activities are carried out as well activities contributing to the community.
- Organisation and realisation of interdisciplinary and inter-university activities/workshops with foreign educational institutions and organisations (e.g. Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, Germany, University of Applied Arts Vienna)
- Organisation and realisation of thematic workshops, lectures, seminars with artists from the national and international stage (e.g. documenta14 in Delphi & Hydra)
- Organisation/Co-organisation of art exhibitions (e.g. Coorganisation with the Municipality of Mykonos, exhibitions by Alexis Akrithakis, Michalis Katzourakis and Kostas Tsoklis in Mykonos)
- Organisation, implementation and supporting activities contributing to the community (e.g. Rescuers in Mithimna, Lesvos).
ASFA is in good and permanent cooperation with local agencies, municipalities, municipal enterprises and organisations to carry out joint collaborations and events of high quality, based on art and culture (e.g. Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete in Rethymnon) while supporting and promoting local, cultural and social events (e.g. Medieval Festival of Rhodes, Guitar Academy of the Cultural Organization in Mytilene, Symptom Project-Contemporary Art Platform in Delphi, Interdisciplinary Project-social platform unMonastery in the Tsepelovo).
The ASFA Artistic Stations are meeting and interaction points among scientists and artists from Greece and abroad for exchanging views and thoughts and promoting artistic and educational research (e.g. University of Ioannina, Panteion University, Royal Institute of Arts, Stockholm, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium, Karlsruhe University of Arts & Design, University of Fine Arts in Hamburg, Germany, Boston University).
The presence, stay and mobilisation of students, professors and visitors at the ASFA Art Stations continually and dynamically promotes the relation between the ASFA and the local community. On the one hand, the local economy is supported and strengthened, and on the other hand, cultural multipliers are being created that transmit to all lengths and breadths the special elements, the symbolism, the tradition and the history of the Greek places.
The following actions are included in the context of the extroversion of ASFA for the promotion of the artistic work as a social contribution:
- Renewal of thematic axes and promotion of collaborations at an educational, research and development level (within the framework of the triptych education-training-contribution to society)
- Organisation of an exhibition with seven hundred (700) works of art from the ASFA collection at spaces of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs building, titled “Παιδεία τέχνας κατεργάζεται” (Education invents Art). Within the framework of the exhibition and under the auspices of the ASFA, a corresponding educational programme is implemented in which schools of all levels participate and an artistic game is organised.
- Organisation of an exhibition with two hundred fifty (250) works of art from the ASFA collection in spaces under the Administration of Cash Operational Programmes of the European Social Fund of the Ministry of Economy and Development.
- Organisation of an exhibition with one hundred and sixty (160) works of art from the ASFA collection in spaces of the Ministry of Economy and Development.
- Organisation of educational visits from general and special education schools of Primary and Secondary Education at the educational studio spaces of the ASFA.
- Participation of the ASFA in the Municipality of Athens Project titled “Open Schools”, undertaking the supervision of the educational programme, and participation of the ASFA in the Municipality of Athens project titled “Open Collections”, organising an one-day workshop and art books exhibition in the ASFA spaces.
- Collaboration between the ASFA and the Municipality of Athens “Kids4thecity”, an initiative by the Municipality of Athens in cooperation with the Directorate of Primary Education in Attica- Directorate of Primary Education A’ Athens (Department of Environmental and Cultural Issues).
- The ASFA is collaborating with the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Ministry of Migration Policy, the Fluxum Foundation-Flux Laboratory, the Greek Parliament, the National Theatre and the Athens State Orchestra, the Embassy of Switzerland in Greece and the Embassy of Ireland in Greece, it has designed workshops for the “International Refugee Day”. More specifically, the photography workshop was carried out by Swiss photographer Mark Henley, the sculpture workshop by Irish sculptor John Behan, the Theater workshop by the Director of the Teenage Stage of the National Theatre, Sophia Vgenopoulou and the music workshop by musicians of the Athens State Orchestra.
- Contribution to local communities focused on the needs and dynamics
- Collaboration of the ASFA with the National Center for Blood Donation for the organisation and creation of seven (7) large-scale graffitis in Athens neighborhoods celebrating the International Day of Voluntary Blood Donation. ERT has created a documentary regarding this activity, which was presented in many countries.
- Designing the “newborn” area for the children's clinic of the General State Hospital of Nikaia.
- Promotion of the social contribution activities of the ASFA to attract new bodies for multilevel collaboration (bodies for internships, research and innovation, cultural exchanges).
- Organisation of an art contest in collaboration with the Hellenic Railways Organisation.
- Organisation of an art contest for ASFA graduates and award of scholarship for post-graduate studies abroad, courtesy of the Motor Oil company
- Curating works of art by students to create a posted for the celebration of 100 years of the Museum of Modern Greek Culture.
- Attracting European funds in collaboration with Municipalities and Prefectures.
- The ASFA in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and the Embassy of Mexico
organised a series of activities and interventions in public spaces (Urban Rail Transport Station “EIRINI”, in Marousi and artistic intervention in a Urban Rail Transport tram), series of lectures and workshops titled “the context of the Encounter of Youth Mexico-Greece”.
To implement the aforementioned activities towards and with society (social dimension) in the context of the extroversion of the ASFA, the following services are involved: Department of Academic Issues, the Independent Department of Exhibition Gallery, Photography and Documents Archive of the ASFA Collection, the ASFA Interconnection Office which submit relevant proposals -throughout the calendar year - to the ASFA Senate in order to approve the feasibility of implementing the proposed activities. The Dean of the ASFA School of Fine Arts cares, organizes and monitors the implementation of educational visits for general and special education schools of Primary and Secondary Education to the educational studio spaces of the ASFA.