The awards ceremony for the winners of the students’ painting contest 2017, organised by the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” and the Children’s Gallery of Greece, took place on 22 January 2018 at the NJV ATHENS PLAZA hotel.

The event was attended by 60 young artists – all primary school students – whose work stood out in the competition, along with their parents and many teachers, who came to Athens from various corners of our beautiful homeland, such as Thessaloniki, Crete, Euboea, Rhodes, Amfilochia, Kilkis, Larissa, Andravida, Leipsoi, Xanthi, Patras, Argos, Corinth, etc., as well as from different regions of Attica, such as Neo Heraklio, Perama, Spata, Piraeus, etc.

The contest on the theme “Children dream about their future” was dedicated to the anniversary of 20 years of activity on the part of the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” and, in total, more than 1,300 children 6-12 years of age, from across Greece, took part in the contest.

The event’s guest of honour and a member of the competition’s Jury was the great Greek artist and Professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts, Mr Michalis Arfaras. 

The Foundation’s President, Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, greeted the children with open arms, specifically stating, among other things: “We have received hundreds of beautiful projects, little masterpieces, from every corner of Greece! Works which reflect the world children dream of, which they present to us through their own wholesome and innocent eyes! Admittedly, our jury had great difficulty in selecting the 60 works that stood out the most. In our hearts, all the students are winners, because it is the effort that counts above all, the time spent and the joy of participation…”. And addressing the parents, Mrs Vardinoyannis added: “My family has always been a priority in my life, and you should make your own children a priority because, as the years go by and our children grow up, the love we show them always comes back to us… and the education we give them will enable them to tackle life’s problems when they grow up. Education and love count above all else for children… When you love your children, they will pass that love on to their own children. Of course, sometimes we need to be strict, in order to teach them right from wrong, but love is the most important thing in life!”

Subsequently educator and President of the Children’s Gallery of Greece, Ms Catherine Lengou, taking the floor, thanked Mrs Vardinoyannis, who embraced this competition with so much love, making it an institution, and added: “I feel great emotion that we are celebrating, all together, the children’s wonderful creations, which this year have so enthusiastically been dedicated to the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” whose course has been marked by Mrs Vardinoyannis’ dedication to giving a hand to those in need, thus imparting the message of humanity and the value of giving selflessly to all Greek children. But the strongest supporters of the multidimensional activities of the Foundation are the young artists… Let’s all make a wish for our children: For them to become the architects of the future, in order to build a dream world like the one they paint in their works!”

The Director of the “B&M Theocharakis Foundation’s” Fine Arts Program, Mr Takis Mavrotas, a supporter and close friend of the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation” from the early years of its operation, referred in his speech to the work of Mrs. Vardinoyannis, noting the particular emphasis she places, through her activities, on culture and art, which, as he said, are not a luxury but play a key role in the growth and development of children so that they can become the capable and creative citizens of tomorrow. Also, Mr Mavrotas referred to the vital work of Professor Michalis Arfaras and, in his closing remarks, he congratulated the children on their wonderful paintings, as well as Mrs Vardinoyannis and Mrs Lengou for establishing the students’ painting contest.

Immediately following this, Athens School of Fine Arts Professor Michalis Arfaras, as a member of the contest Jury, took the floor, stating: “The only thing I knew when I received the children’s paintings was their age… The fact that all were original works, that they were not copies of other works or photographs, but were inspired by the children’s imagination, I believe this to be a particular achievement of this competition… I wish all the best for the children’s future. I would like to thank Mrs Vardinoyannis for the monumental project she is carrying out. I am very familiar with all of her activities in the cultural arena, as well as in the field of humanitarianism more generally…”.

The winners of this year’s contest were 9 students, 3 from first and second grades, 3 from third and fourth grades, and 3 from fifth and sixth grades.

In the First Category, for first and second grade students, the winners were: Marigia Kasteroudi, a second grader at the 4th Elementary School of New Heraklion, Attica, Kostantina Pantelidou,a first grader at the 21st Elementary School of Thessaloniki, and Elena-Rafailia Rousaki, a second grader at the Zanneio School in Heraklion, Crete.

In the Second Category, for third and fourth grade students, the winners were: Michalis-Marios Aptoglou, a fourth grader at the 5th Elementary School of Rhodes, Korina Gkoregia, a third grader at the 1st Elementary School of Istiaia, in Euboea, and Maria Μamali, a third grader at the Jeanne d’Arc Hellenic-French School in Piraeus.

In the Third Category, for fifth and sixth grade students, the winners were: Rafail-Emmanouil Skoulatakis, a sixth grader at the 16th Elementary School of Heraklion, Crete, Olivia Tampouri, a sixth grader at the Cultural Association of Loutro, Amfilochia, and Maria Chatzimoysiadou, a fifth grader at the 13th Elementary School of Xanthi.

As a prize, the children were awarded an etching by Professor Michalis Arfaras, numbered and signed by the artist, to always remind them of this distinction and to serve as a source of inspiration in their artistic journey.

Also, all children and their parents were offered a 2018 wall calendar containing the children’s works, created by the Foundation.

Finally it was announced at the event that, in 2018, in collaboration with the Children’s Gallery of Greece, the Foundation will organise the 4th students’ painting competition on the theme “The children dream about their future – Human Rights,” as 2018 will mark 70 years since the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and many of the Foundation’s activities this year will be devoted to this issue.