S/ Was There: The Rolex Arts Festival Celebrates 20 Years of Mentoring in Athens

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative celebrated its 20th anniversary with a gala ceremony at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens. This event brings together a diverse community of renowned artists and arts professionals who have been connected through the initiative. The ceremony, directed by Dublin-based UK theatre artist Selina Cartmell, honoured the achievements of the mentoring program and featured performances, films, and tributes by esteemed artists and mentors, such as Robert Wilson, Crystal Pite, Sir David Chipperfield, and Mira Nair. The evening also included the premiere of ARTEMIS: Fountain, a Rolex Arts Festival commission by Peruvian composer Pauchi Sasaki performed with 30 members of CHÓRES at the SNFCC’s Dancing Fountains at the Canal.

“We have created this occasion in Athens, one of the greatest of all cradles of the arts and culture, to convene a joyful reunion of the mentoring programme community, reflect on what we have done together and share these achievements with the public through the Rolex Arts Festival.” said Rebecca Irvin, head of the mentoring programme at Rolex.

Leading up to the festival, a pre-festival program included workshops, masterclasses, and rehearsals involving Greek artists and mentors. The festival itself showcased over 30 private and public events covering all seven artistic disciplines supported by Rolex. With more than 200 Greek and international artists participating, the festival has partnered with prominent cultural institutions in Athens, including the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, the Benaki Museum, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens. The festival’s curator, Emma Gladstone, has collaborated with a distinguished Greek Advisory Committee to bring this vibrant celebration of the arts to fruition.

View the gallery to see highlights from the event.

Photos courtesy of Rolex.