Service95 Logo
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  
Issue #118 Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  

All products featured are independently chosen by the Service95 team. When you purchase something through our shopping links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Athens art and artists featuring NEON, Lynda Benglis, Anna Karountzou, The Breeder Gallery and 2WO+1NE=2 NEON Presents Lynda Benglis in the Realm of the Senses; Anna Karountzou © Pavlos Addimando; The Breeder Open Studio Ireland Wisdom; 2WO+1NE=2

Athens’ Art Scene: The Creatives & Galleries To Know For Your Next Trip  

For more than two decades, Athens was a recurring destination for me as a tourist. In 2022 however, after a four-year hiatus, I decided to make it my home. My return to the Grecian capital was met with an unfamiliar but palpable energy. The city I thought I knew had evolved – I quickly discovered that, in this city of contrasts, creativity is thriving more than ever.  

Athens is now a playground for the arts, with creatives from around the world settling here. It is said that Documenta 14 (a series of contemporary art exhibitions) held in 2017 played a significant role in this transformation. The city fosters cultural exchange, creating a melting pot of artistic influences and collaborations.  

It is still an affordable place to live, offering a freedom that can be harder to find in other European capitals, and is dotted not only with traditional art galleries and museums but independent and artist-run initiatives. 

Without a competitive art market or big-name mega galleries, Athens creates a different vibe, says gallerist Christina Androulidaki. “Artists are cheered on to take risks, challenge norms and dive into unchartered territories without worrying about being commercially successful,” she says, “therefore fostering a unique atmosphere where artistic exploration and pushing boundaries are celebrated rather than conforming to established norms.”  

More From Service95

In conversations with local creatives, a recurring theme emerges: the rich cultural heritage serves as a major source of inspiration. According to Androulidaki, who is also an art historian, “Athens boasts a rich cultural heritage deeply rooted in history and mythology, while also marrying tradition with innovation. Contemporary art stands against the ancient ruins – a uniquely Athenian experience.” 

Here, Athens-based creatives discuss what makes the city such a haven for the arts – plus, we share the organisations championing contemporary art in the city and hotspots to visit ahead of your next trip. 

5 Athens-Based Creatives On The City’s Arts Scene 

2+2=2
2WO+1NE=2

1. Stella Panagopoulou & Valisia Gotsi, Fashion Designers At 2WO+1NE=2 – Stella Panagopoulou and Valisia Gotsi, co-founders of ethical fashion brand 2WO+1NE=2, are particularly inspired by Athens’ “strong underground scene”. As Panagopoulou explains, “It is a city full of contradictions, from posh restaurants to anti-conformist basements, and because of the nature of the city we have so many things to watch, experience and get inspired by.” 

2WO+1NE=2 creates sustainable and tailored ready-to-wear pieces, produced by local dressmakers using high-quality natural, organic and renewable fibres. The brand also repurposes worn 2WO+1NE=2 garments into new creations.  

Panagopoulou welcomes the recent evolution of Athens’ creative scene. “For many years we had the feeling that everyone was resting on their laurels, obsessed with ancient history,” she says. “In the last decade we can see and feel a switch. A conversation has started between young creatives and the city’s past, which has led to the acknowledgement that we are not just about the ancient times – contemporary events are equally important.”   

Portrait of designer Aristotelis Barakos
Aristotelis Barakos by Ioanna Jejumi; Antoinette Lamp Photographed By Giorgos Vitsaropoulos

2. Aristotelis Barakos, Product Designer – Aristotelis Barakos, an award-winning product designer based in the Exarcheia neighbourhood, notes that “Athens has become increasingly open-minded and globally connected.” He attributes this to the “creatives from around the world [who] have moved to Athens during the past decade, creating a very interesting creative community that collaborates on projects and shares new ideas.” 

Barakos, who founded his eponymous design studio in 2019, sees the city as “a rich tapestry of inspiration that significantly informs my work.” He adds: “The juxtaposition of ancient and modern, Eastern and Western cultural elements… encourages me to blend timeless design principles with contemporary innovation.” 

He praises Athens’ “thriving artistic scene” and many galleries, art studios and exhibitions, adding: “It can be a full-time job, if one tries to follow all the events that are happening in the city.” 

Greek ceramicist Anna Karountzou
Anna Karountzou, Vase photographed by Pavlos Addimando

3. Anna Karountzou, Ceramicist – Anna Karountzou creates one-off pieces, such as pots, vases and goblets, slowly by hand at her studio in Kolonaki. With a background in the conservation of art and antiquities, her work is inspired by the ancient civilisation that is so close to the surface of modern-day Athens, as well as its natural environment. She likens the act of moulding a ceramic object from clay to the process of preserving an ancient fresco. 

As an artist, she thrives on the city’s “intense energy”. “Athens has this inexplicable and special beauty,” she says. “It is a city full of contrasts and that is what makes it so magical. You can be in the heart of an urban landscape and at the same time be surrounded by hills, which are in the centre of Athens. In a short time, you can go hiking in the mountains or swimming in the sea. You can easily escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.” 

Karountzou hails the recent upsurge in “international galleries opening branches in Athens and artist-run spaces popping up in all sorts of unusual places” for helping Athens to take its place on the global art stage. “Athens is beginning to gain a more prominent position not only in the European art map but globally,” she says. 

Artwork by Petros Efstathiadis
Artwork by Petros Efstathiadis, Courtesy the artist

4. Petros Efstathiadis, Visual Artist – “Athens is not London or Paris, time still moves slowly and gives you some time as an artist not to have extra pressure.” Artist Petros Efstathiadis appreciates this pace of life. Photography is his medium – first, he creates ephemeral sculptures, sets and structures from found materials before capturing them. Then, the sculptures are dismantled and the component parts are returned to everyday use. Efstathiadis keeps the photograph as the artwork. “What is great about Athens is the freedom that someone can do their art all the way with no compromise,” he says. 

He is inspired by the city’s “chaotic side”. “The interesting part of Athens is the people, not the Parthenon,” he says. “There is so much drama unfolding in every neighbourhood that affects the way you view things. For someone who creates narratives, it’s endless research that fuels unexpected stories.” 

AENALIA by Yannis Bournias
AENALIA by Yannis Bournias

5. Katerina Kritikou, Jewellery Designer at AENÁLIA – Katerina Kritikou is an art historian and founder of AENÁLIA, which crafts contemporary takes on neo-Hellenic jewellery. Founded in Athens in 2019, AENÁLIA’s pieces are made in Greece by local craftspeople and evoke “elements from the European West and the Islamic East”, as well as traditional Greek costumes. Kritikou expresses pride in the meaning behind her pieces: “Their beauty isn’t just striking in my eyes – they have a story to tell, and I am very proud that it’s a Greek one.”  

Kritikou describes Athens metaphorically as a woman: “not a classic beauty” but “an attractive one with a strong character and eclectic artistic taste”. She takes inspiration from walking the city’s streets. “I enjoy exploring its contrasts and feeling its vibrations,” she says. “I especially love neighbourhoods [such as] Monastiraki, Plaka, Exarcheia and Kypseli, where I can find small shops owned by craftspeople that are still creating masterpieces with their hands.” 

She recommends “strolling around downtown, especially in Psyri” to see the street art on display there, and a visit to Theodore Psychoyos’ studio in an old ouzo factory in the port of Piraeus. “Athens’ art scene will never cease to amaze me,” she adds. 

5 Organisations Championing Contemporary Art In Athens

ARTHENS Tour, Athens, Louise Bourgeois Spider Sculpture
ARTHENS Tour, Athens

1. CAN Christina Androulidaki Gallery Renowned for its commitment to showcasing contemporary art and emerging talents, CAN Gallery has made a significant mark in local and international art scene. It is currently undergoing a major revamp and will be reopening this year in a new and larger space near Omonoia Square, close to the National Archaeological Museum and the historic Minion department store. Founder Christina Androulidaki is dedicated to supporting artists in various stages of their careers, and curates a diverse roster of exhibitions that challenge audiences. By offering guidance, support and exposure, the gallery has become a launchpad for many budding talents. 

“The city acts as a living, breathing canvas that informs and shapes CAN Gallery,” says Androulidaki. “The gallery space always has had a street window. Passersby could peek at our exhibitions without even entering the gallery space. I feel that the city enters the gallery and the gallery is directly connected to the street life outside.”  

2. ARTHENS – Theodora Koumoundourou is an art historian, consultant and founder of ARTHENS, a company that provides bespoke art tours and trips for art enthusiasts. “Athens is a cross-path of many international people who work in the art world,” she says.  

“There was a ‘wave’ around 2018, with many artists, curators, designers and writers relocating to Athens and forming collaborations with local galleries and project spaces, opening their own studios, shopping for galleries and integrating in the pulse of the city. This was something wonderful to be part of – experiencing your city ‘growing’ mentally and emotionally through its citizens. It is quite spectacular.” 

3. The Intermission – The Intermission is an exhibition programme initiated by art advisor Artemis Baltoyanni in September 2019. It is “a natural hub for the exchange of ideas and a place where different civilisations meet”, she says. Both emerging and established artists are invited to occupy the space with specific projects in partnership with their representing galleries.  

4. ARCH – ARCH is an independent, non-profit arts organisation providing opportunities for professionals in the contemporary visual arts to develop their practice, explore connections and build collaborations through its exhibition and residency programmes. Located near the Arch of Hadrian in Plaka, it includes an exhibition space, a studio and workshop area, and a public library.  

5. The Breeder Gallery – Located inside a 1970s ice cream factory, this gallery is at the forefront of contemporary art, both locally and globally. 

6. CURRENT Athens – an independent online platform for the non-hierarchical promotion of contemporary art. 

5 More Art Galleries To Visit In Athens (but there are countless more) 

WOMEN Together ΕΜΣΤ Collection
WOMEN Together ΕΜΣΤ NAational Museum of Contemporary Art Athens

1. Neon—Provides a platform for local artists to explore the city’s history and culture, making their work freely available to all. Using a nomadic approach, it activates buildings, archaeological sites, and gardens within the city through the prism of contemporary art.

2. Rodeo Gallery – Collaborates with artists and institutions, showcasing the city’s rich history and nurturing the next generation of artists. 

3. Alkinois Project Space – founded by curator Alix Janta-Polczynski, a Belgian expat who now calls Athens home. The high-ceilinged exhibition space in Petralona opens periodically with exhibitions by resident artists and occasional group shows. 

4. Kalfayan Galleries – Kalfayan Galleries was established in Thessaloniki in 1995 and in Athens in 2000. Since its inception, it has been a pioneer in the expansion of the contemporary art scene in Greece. The gallery promotes the work of contemporary Greek art, along with works from the Balkans and MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, with a roster that acts as a bridge between Eastern and Western visual culture.  

5. Gagosian – Specialises in modern and contemporary art exhibitions from diverse artists, including exhibition tours, performances, public talks and film screenings.  

6. ΕΜΣΤ National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens – Education is at the forefront of the national gallery. The museum exhibits Greek and international artists and promotes awareness of national culture. 

Georgia Hopkins is an Athens-based travel writer who has written for publications including Evening Standard, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Australia, Suitcase and Est. She is also the founder of travel platform and consulting service It’s Beautiful Here 

Read More

SUBSCRIBE TO SERVICE95 NEWSLETTERS

Subscribe