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Florina Museum of Contemporary Art
FLORINA

Florina Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art next to the Sakoulevas river has been housed since 2006 in an impressive neoclassical building and is one of the most interesting and important arts institutions in Greece.

The history
In 1975, an organized effort was launched by the Florina Artists' House to gather a remarkable collection of art works of the city, which, through time, has demonstrated a particularly intense artistic activity. The beginning was made thanks to the professor of the School of Fine Arts of Athens, Dimitris Kalamaras, with the help of many Florina artists, among them Ilias Vyzantis, Nikolas Dogoulis, Vassilis Kyrkos and Sterikas Koulis. Two years later, in 1977, the Museum of Contemporary Art was inaugurated with a small number of works of the National Gallery in a building of the Agricultural School. Only a year later, four of the most important Greek artists, Dimitris Mytaras, Nikos Hatzikyriakos-Gikas Panagiotis Tetsis and Demosthenes Kokkinidis presented their works there. This exhibition was very important, and proved pivotal to the museum’s evolution as from that time onwards it focussed on presenting works by some of the most influential Greek artists. The museum's permanent collection now includes about 700 works by important Greek and foreign artists, while at the same time promoting the arts in northern Greece.

The different buildings
Due to its eviction in 1978, the museum and its collection, which then numbered 63 works, was temporarily moved to the house of Dimitris Kalamaras, in search of a new abode. Finally, a year later it was moved to the building on Temelkou Street where it remained for 13 years. Between 1992 and 2006 the Museum of Contemporary Art was housed in the Gounari building, while for the last 15 years it has been permanently located in the neoclassical listed building on Tagmatarchou Fouledaki Street, which was donated to the Florina Prefecture by the Ministry of Culture.
Parallel actions
Even before the founding of the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1977, the Florina Artists' House had inaugurated the institution of Symposia, as part of an initiative to bring the city’s inhabitants in closer contact with both classical art and a more modern artistic orientation. In this context, it founded the Gallery of Artists of Florina (as a branch of the Museum) in 1985 in an effort to house the works of Florina artists, giving greater impetus to local works of art. The gallery operates at the Railway Station Square in the town of Florina, inside an old building of the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE).
At the same time, the establishment of the Art Library, which is housed on the ground floor and includes 6,000 volumes on the history and theory of fine arts, has made the museum one of the most prestigious arts institutions in the country. The Museum also has a workshop of fine arts to highlight new talent in painting, sculpture and engraving.

The "Tribute to Greco" collection
In 1995 the Museum of Contemporary Art acquired, after the concession of the National Gallery, the "Tribute to Greco" collection which became one of its most important exhibits. The collection includes El Greco's Saint Peter, a significant work of art belonging to a series of portraits of the Twelve Apostles, the Apostolate. It was first acquired by the National Gallery of Athens in 1990 before it found its way to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Florina, further embellishing its collection with this seminal work. The "Tribute to Greco" includes a total of 137 works which were donated to the museum of Western Macedonia by the Greek state. You can also view several sculptures by Greek and foreign artists, as well as 44 engravings from Florence. The Museum also hosts a separate department with installations, further promoting modern Greek artists.