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A nine-day intensive artist residency on the Mysteries of art in energy vibrating Athens & Elefsina (European Capital of Culture 2023)

The residency, workshop and presentation project addresses visual artists, designers, crafters, jewelry makers, ceramists, performers, photographers, filmmakers and art theorists who wish to dive into the Greek myth of death and resurrection.

Date options in 2024:

25 August – 2 September
8 – 16 September
13 – 21 October
17 – 25 November

The Road To Elefsina aims at expanding the artists' spectrum of cultural experiences, and offer insight into the beginnings of civilization. The learning program enhances artists’ understanding of how art and poetry may have a soothing effect on human agonies.

The open call addresses artists from various disciplines, placing emphasis on objects, performance, jewelry, textiles, and their special connection with mysteries of transcendence.

The residency takes place in Athens and Elefsina. It includes intensive workshops in storytelling, performance and video, and promotes the artists’ work through presentation, catalogue and participation in video festivals. The physical residency follows an online introduction to the significance of Greek heritage for contemporary artists.


For 2,000 years, a farming community close to Athens was the spiritual center of the ancient world. Pilgrims from all over came to Eleusis* (modern-day Elefsina) to be initiated to mysteries befriending them with death. Men, women, free people, and slaves, Greeks and foreigners watched the myth of Persephone staged and revived in the sacred site of Eleusis, and witnessed the young goddess returning from Hades.
Sacred rituals including recitation, performance, and presentation of sacred objects taught initiates the secret of immortal bliss. If it were not one of the most important religious ceremonies of the ancient world, it could have been one of the most glamorous art events of all times.

The Road to Elefsina focuses on the myth of a girl becoming a woman and the art representations connected to it, as well as on the social background, history and concepts of the Eleusinian mysteries, also called "orgies". Residents are challenged to explore the myth of Persephone, her abduction, sacred marriage and death, and give their own interpretation of eternal flow.

The artists residency also aims at making contact with the past through a ritual walk; a ritual performance inspired by illustrations on vases, murals, statues, objects is also part of retrieving an elusive experience through the body.The program offers insight into the vast history of Greek civilization that manifests itself, often unnoticed. in the most unusual and tacky places of modern Athens topography.
Last but not least, the residency program teaches participants how to make their art work’s presentation meaningful, surprising and irresistible through words, plot, performance and video.

 * Elefsina is European Capital of Culture 2023.


The mysteries of Eleusis were also taught by revealing the sacred objects to the initiates during the ceremony of the midnight sun. What kind of objects were shown to illustrate the meaning of life and the antidote to death is a question that remains to be answered. We can only speculate how the sacred objects would look like today to reflect sustainable values. Contemporary artists can find meaning and inspiration in the concept of Philokalia according to which truth and beauty are one and the same.

The Road to Elefsina encourages the participants to imagine answers to this question. It addresses the need of individual artists and artist communities for an ethical restart; it also takes into account that applied art and jewelry - art objects that can be used - can play an important role in reshaping standards and status quo symbols in times of climate change, social and political unrest.  

•  Watch the SMCK On Reel trailer  •

Residency details:

The residency program includes accommodation, guided tours in Athens and Eleusis designed for artists, three workshops on storytelling, communication and video, as well as an online introduction on Greek heritage and on the importance of interdisciplinary approach for the artist’s work promotion.

Videos created by the residents will be presented during SMCK ON REEL 2025 at Schmuck Munich.

Services included:

  • 9 days/8 nights accommodation in downtown Athens (see options below).
  • Guided tours and open air workshops in Athens and Elefsina.
  • Workshops & e-workshop on the history and mythology of Elefsina + narrative and storytelling + concept and storyboard + video art and photography.
  • Concept, idea and design of objects; performance practice; video script and shooting.
  • Promotion & publication of the participants' work in SMCK Magazine.
    Download SMCK Magazine Greece_200 for free.
  • Participation in SMCK ON REEL at Schmuck Jewelry Week 2025 in Munich / Germany.
  • Jewelry and small objects online sales.
  • The residency project will be documented on SMCK Magazine and KLIMT02 website.

Residency dates, fees & accommodation

Artists may choose their accommodation in various downtown studios offering the best options for different budgets. Each residency unit can be followed by seven participants simultaneously. If desired, artists have the possibility to extend their residency by more days.


A - Kolonos: size 80m2 / individual studio apartment – 650,00 euro
B - Exarchia: size 102m2 / individual studio apartment – 790,00 euro OR
shared by max. 2 residents – 520,00 euro each 
C - Kypseli: size 52m2 / individual studio apartment – 690,00 euro
D - Artist has her/his own Athens accommodation: Participation fee – 500,00 euro


Sun 25 August – Mon 2 September 2024
Sun 8 – Mon 16 September 2024
Sun 13 – Mon 21 October 2024
Sun 17 – Mon 25 November 2024

Note:  We also offer individual dates for artist and student groups (schools or institutions).

The residency fee is payable in two or three installments. Prices are per artist.
Detailed information about the studio apartments in Athens can be found in our >>> studios section.


Please send your application to, including a cover letter with your motivation, CV, and your website and/or social media link(s). Also send us your desired residency date(s) and accommodation preference.

Application deadline is Sunday 30 June 2024.