Portland celebrates its Greek Sister City

The dedication of an oak display case on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, at 3:30 pm in the 2nd floor Rotunda of Portland City Hall will honor the Greek Sister City relationship between Portland and Mytilene, Lesvos, Greece. The case was constructed locally with the support of community donors organized by the Hellenic Society of Maine, and joins other cases in the second floor lobby that honor Portland’s three other Sister Cities.

Officiating will be Mayor Michael Brennan, City Councilor Nicholas Mavodones, Hellenic Society of Maine president, Mary Snell, and a representative from Sen. Olympia Snowe’s office. (Lesvos is her paternal ancestral home.) 2012 presents a special opportunity to show our friendship to our Sister City. It is the 100th anniversary year of the liberation of the City of Mytilene and Lesvos Island from Ottoman rule.

A reception will follow from 4 – 7 p.m. in Space Gallery Annex at 538 Congress Street. It will be a joint reception for artists participating in Portes (“Doors”), an exhibition of approximately 50 works on paper by Portland artists that will travel to Mytilene in June 2012. Portes is a collaboration between Hellenic Society of Maine and Tetra Projects, and has been recognized as an official Sister City event by the governments of Portland and Mytilene.

A preview of the exhibition will be on view from March 21 to April 7, at Space Gallery Annex, The show will also be on view during Portland’s First Friday Art Walk on April 6.

Portes is the Greek word for “doors” and the title reflects the cultural importance of seaports and cultural exchange in both Mytilene and Portland. The exhibition is a survey of works on paper by fifty Portland-area artists, including drawing, painting, collage, photography, printmaking and mixed media works by emerging and established artists.

Portes opens in Greece with a state reception on Friday, June 8, and runs through June 14. It will be exhibited in the upper gallery of the Public Theater on the quay in downtown Mytilene during events celebrating the 100th anniversary.

The exhibition, reception, and events surrounding the show in Mytilene support the Sister City mission of cultural exchange and goodwill between the citizens of Greece and the United States, and provides an exciting opportunity for an international exhibition by Maine artists. It is hoped that a similar exhibition will travel to Portland’s other Sister Cities in the future, and that Portland will host reciprocal exhibits.

Funds are being raised for Portes through Kickstarter, and Portland Arts & Cultural Alliance is acting as a fiscal partner. Donations can be made through the Kickstarter page http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/311181411/portes-an-exhibition-of-maine-art-in-greece or by sending a check directly to Portland Arts & Cultural Alliance with “Portes” in the memo line.

Works will be exhibited by Judith Allen-Efstathiou, Lydia Badger, Melinda Barnes, Stephen Benenson, Elizabeth Bieber, Kyle Bryant, Cole Caswell, Crystal Cawley, Tim Clorius, Kimberly Convery, Patrick Corrigan, Michel Droge, Nathan Eldridge, Christian Farnsworth, Lauren Fensterstock, Rebecca FitzPatrick, Aaron Flacke, Jim Flahaven, Clint Fulkerson, Alina Gallo, Mike Gorman, Tonee Harbert, Mary Hart, Charles Hewitt, Alison Hildreth, Thurston Howes, Hilary Irons, Tyson Jacques, Lis Janes, Kris Johnson, Rachel Katz, Joe Kievitt , John Knight, Mike Libby, Matthew Meyer, Nathaniel Meyer, Bennett Morris, Charles Ott, Lisa Pixley, Alex Rheault, Matthew Robbins, Andy Rosen, Alex Sax, Slop Art (Adriane Herman & Brian Reeves), Aaron T Stephan, Ling-Wen Tsai, Chad Verrill, Shoshannah White, Henry Wolyniec, and Jeff Woodbury.

About the Portland/Mytilene Sister City Relationship

Portland, Maine, and Mytilene, Lesvos, became Sister Cities in 2003. The formal vote by the Portland City Council on the Sister City Resolution was held on Monday, October 20, in Council Chambers. A reciprocal visit by a Portland delegation to Mytilene took place in June of 2004.

The Sister City relationship was suggested by members of the Hellenic Society of Maine, and has continued to be supported by the group. The purpose of the Sister City relationship is to promote world peace and international cooperation by establishing close and continuous ties between two world communities that already have several strong connections and much in common.

Both cities are located on the sea, in the northeast corner of their countries, in areas known for being environmentally clean, green and beautiful. Both are ports and are the economic, cultural, medical and legal centers of their region. Both have an important, growing university and other schools that give them a young and vibrant feel and a talented workforce. Both were established early in their country’s history, and are associated with historic and modern artistic and literary talent. Both are in areas that rely on tourism and natural resources for a good portion of their economy, and whose people are known for their independent spirits.


About the other organizations

The Hellenic Society of Maine strives to present and/or support cultural and educational events in Maine that appeal to a wide range of people – both Greeks and philhellenes. It is affiliated with the University of Southern Maine through its Hellenic initiatives program. The Hellenic Society of Maine supports the official Sister City relationship of Portland, Maine, USA and Mytilene, Lesvos, Greece.     https://hellenicsocietyofmaine.wordpress.com/

Tetra Projects is a curatorial structure for experimental art and media projects. Tetra Projects was founded by Jeff Badger and is based in South Portland, Maine.http://tetraprojects.blogspot.com/

Space Gallery presents contemporary, unconventional, and emerging arts, artists, and ideas.   http://www.space538.org/

Portland Arts & Cultural Alliance (PACA) is a non-profit 501-c-3 organization with a mission of “Strengthening Portland by strengthening the Arts.” http://www.portlandarts.org

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