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26 May, 2024
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Towns chase transformative cultural thrones

Ypsonas and Ayia Napa to revitalize cultural scene

Apostolos Kouroupakis

Apostolos Kouroupakis

Larnaca, Limassol, and Nicosia have begun working towards the title of the European Capital of Culture for 2030, and it seems that the municipalities of Ypsonas and Ayia Napa also want to join this effort. The three largest cities have started their planning and are gradually completing the necessary elements to include in the bid book, a 60-page document responding to 38 questions. It's worth mentioning that Paphos was the first Cypriot city to bid for and receive the title in 2017, which brought happiness as it was seen as an opportunity for the city to address its cultural "drought," though this wasn't ultimately achieved, and the responsibility lies with the Paphos Municipality that continually promised Cultural Funds and Organizations without delivering.

Regardless of the work being done by the organizations in each city or the aspirations of the Ypsonas and Ayia Napa municipalities, I believe they should primarily look at the example of Paphos in 2017 and how that experience ultimately served the long-term goal of cultural enhancement as the Cultural Capital. It's important to consider the lasting impact of the institution, how the local community benefits on a broad scale, and most importantly, how the cultural outcome and infrastructure are supported by local officials.

Certainly, significant achievements took place in Paphos in 2017; the city experienced interesting activities for a year, hosted delightful events, but what lasting impressions remain? How did the residents benefit from a year of cultural excitement, and did the local authorities truly sustain what was established?

Therefore, the key concern is for each city's inhabitants to envision what they want to achieve beyond 2031, rather than focusing solely on their appearances during 2030. All cities need comprehensive rejuvenation, a rearrangement of their cultural assets and potential. Presently, only Larnaca is showing some relative movement, being the first to initiate the related processes, backed by all district mayors including Aradippou, Athienou, Dromolaxia-Meneou, Livadia, and Lefkara. Larnaca has started indicating its intentions and plans by organizing initial events, though these might not truly represent what they want to showcase in the bid book. The organization is led by Spyros Pysinos and Kelli Diapouli, individuals well-versed in the concept of Cultural Capital. Spyros Pysinos was involved in Paphos 2017, and Kelli Diapouli in Eleusis for 2021, with Dinos Lefkaritis as the president.

Limassol has also started moving by establishing the organization "European Capital of Culture - Limassol 2030" with Dr. Andreas Pittas as the council's president. Limassol is still testing the waters, engaging with artists and citizens, supported by a team of individuals who love the city and art in general, including Elena Agathocleous, Diomidis Koufteros, Marina Kakoulli, with Eleana Alexandrou leading the team. Georgina Detsi's presence, who successfully managed Paphos 2017, is significant. Limassol's candidacy can mobilize various institutions to strengthen its vision, which the organization should relentlessly pursue.

Nicosia, among the major cities, entered the European Capital of Culture journey a bit late and hasn't fully unveiled its plans yet, aside from establishing the "Nicosia For Art" organization under the guidance of former Deputy Minister of Culture, Yiannis Toumazis, with the explicit support of the Nicosia Municipality. Yiannis Toumazis brings methodical expertise and an international perspective, and his contribution is expected to be pivotal. However, Nicosia must run efficiently and avoid getting lost in various distractions that could slow its progress. Nicosia's strengths, essentially being the cultural hub of Cyprus, might turn into negative factors if not handled properly, such as internal rivalries and local malpractices.

Regarding the Ypsonas and Ayia Napa candidacies, there isn't much to discuss. To make a strong entry, they need to take significant actions and decide that their cities will transform; otherwise, it's easy to waste resources and effort for nothing.

In conclusion, while the title is commendable, the focus should be on looking ahead. Paphos in 2023 can serve as a useful lesson in this regard.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  culture  |  Limassol  |  Larnaca  |  Nicosia  |  AyiaNapa

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