On 7 March 2016, The Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation organized a small party at the NJV ATHENS PLAZA Hotel in Syntagma Square in honour of the students that participated in the 2015 Painting Competition held by the Children’s Gallery of Greece

Forty-four young artists, all primary school students, along with their parents and numerous teachers, came to the event from different parts of our country, from Thessaloniki, Larissa, Trikala, Volos, Amaliada, Levadeia, as well as different regions of Athens such as Galatsi, Perama, Chalandri, and Holargos.

The President of the Foundation, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, greeted them with great emotion and open arms.

“Today is a special day for us, said Mrs. Vardinoyannis, as we are honouring students who took part in the Painting Competition which was organized last October by the Children’s Gallery of Greece and dedicated to our Foundation. All these days that we have been organizing the event, I got a chance to see your wonderful work, the enchanting colours, the wonderful sketches, the messages that you convey, and I feel that Spring could not possibly have come in a better way than it has today…..Our collaboration with the Children’s Gallery opened a new path for our Foundation for communicating with children, which began on the historical island of Rhodes, where Children’s Gallery of Greece is based, having reached various locations in Greece. A different sort of path, through painting, inspiration, and creation. This initiative was in line with our Foundation’s purpose and objectives as regards encouraging the next generation and supporting educational activities that promote our culture on the one hand, and the children’s creativity on the other….seeking to showcase the next generation’s self-expression and talent, we decided to select, as the subject of our Christmas card, the drawing that would win first prize in the competition. In this manner, we wanted to pay tribute to the children’s effort and to provide them with an additional incentive to participate in an extracurricular activity. The Youth Committee of the ELPIDA Foundation, with which we cooperate closely, stood by our side in this initiative and also wished to honor the children by selecting for its own Christmas card one additional drawing…. I feel great joy that I am able to meet these children today in person, who painted for us and gave us such beautiful paintings which conveyed, through our cards, our wishes for the new year to many places around the world. I would like to sincerely thank them, as well as the all of our young friends who are here today with us and who participated in our project through the competition, as well as their families who stand behind them….

Ms. Laura Lalaounis represented the Youth Committee of the ELPIDA Foundation in the event, and educator Catherine Lengou represented the Children’s Gallery of Greece, who extended a warm welcome to the children and cordially thanked Ms. Vardinoyannis with great emotion for the love and care she provides to them.

“We all share, said Ms. Lengou, the conviction that a child’s imagination is a precious gift which possesses the power to light up our world. Our wonderful cooperation in the youth competition with the M. Vardinoyannis Foundation helped us in giving hope and pride to the children who created paintings, as well as to their families. We sincerely thank Mrs. Marianna Vardinoyannis for her unfailing support and warm hospitality in today’s event – awards ceremony for the children.”

“Mrs. Vardinoyannis, in recognition of Ms. Lengou’s contribution to her Foundation, bestowed upon the latter the Foundation’s honorary plaque.

Eight-year-old Thanasis Sotiropoulos from Amaliada received the first prize in the Competition, and 11-year-old Athanasia Gioti from Trikala the second though, in the event, all the children were honoured with commemorative certificates from the Children’s Gallery of Greece and the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation.”

Additionally, on the occasion of the 20-year anniversary of the passing of our great poet, Nobel laureate Odysseas Elytis, the Foundation chose to give the two competition winners Elytis’ painting entitled “Paidiko” – it is well known that Elytis, in addition to being a great poet, was also a great painter and art critic. The two printed copies of the painting which were given to the children were the generous donation of poet Ioulita Iliopoulou who correlated her life and work to Odysseas Elytis.

The Foundation chose to give a copy of Elytis’ book “O Mikros Nautilos [Little Nautilus]” to all of the children.

Ms. Iliopoulou was present at the event, extended her greetings, spoke with the children about Elytis’ love of painting and the importance he placed upon it, and congratulated Mrs. Vardinoyannis on her work.

“It is very important, said Ms. Iliopoulou, to permit ourselves to have a lasting and creative relationship with art. I am happy that the opportunity was given for thought, the work of Odysseas Elytis, to be connected with the Vardinoyannis Foundation. A foundation which aims to protect life itself….as Elytis would often say about painting “there is no use in recording practicality as we see it but to correct it in the direction of the constant, of that which is inalterable…. Whereas regarding poetry, he had said that he aimed to capture and speak of a second world, which always arrives first inside of us. Or, as he says elsewhere, poetry comes to correct God’s mistakes, or to show us how incorrectly we comprehend His gifts…It moves me that the Marianna Vardinoyannis Foundation and “ELPIDA” strive for just this, the essential: To reinforce the children’s ability to tackle a problem, to claim their right to true life, health, happiness.

At the end of the event, all of the children, along with Mrs. Vardinoyannis, Ms. Lengou, and Ms. Iliopoulou, as well as their teachers, took commemorative photographs.