The Art Symposia concept arose from Gina Mamidakis’s love of culture, and insures that the cultural heritage of different countries will travel all over the world through the eyes of visitors.
The first international Art Symposium was held in June 1988 at the Minos Beach Hotel in Agios Nikolaos, Crete. Artists from Greece, Europe and America created works in the environs of the hotel and the sculptures that adorned the hotel's gardens, whether standing, hanging, resting on surfaces or attached to other natural or man-made structures, became part of the hotel’s natural environment.
The second Art Symposium took place in 1990, the European Year of Tourism, focusing on the topic of a new cultural identity for the Mediterranean. New works by 16 artists from Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Turkey were presented to great acclaim, while the theme of the Symposium was also discussed.
In the summer of 1993, “Art in politics” was the central topic of the third Art Symposium. It featured 22 artists and seven critics and scholars who lived and worked in Central and Eastern Europe (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria). Its aim was to present artists whose artistic expression and output had for a long time been restricted by totalitarian regimes.
The fourth Art Symposium was held under the aegis of the G. & A. Mamidakis Foundation in the summer of 1996. Eight experienced Cypriot artists created works of art during the Symposium and exhibited them in the hotel and its grounds. Made of various materials such as metal, copper, marble, canvas and wood, they were characterized by a conceptual approach and also included video art.
In July 1999, Chilean art made an appearance in Crete at the fifth Art Symposium. Eight artists created a diverse exhibition of sculpture, painting, photographs, theatre and song which went on display at the Minos Beach art hotel, establishing how close cultural, political and human relations can be, despite the geographical distance that separates countries.
In recent years, the following exhibitions have taken place:
In June 2006, “Mechanics 1978 – 2006” by renowned sculptor Giannis Parmakelis opened and continued until September. Four of his works are in the Foundation’s permanent collection.
“People and Places in the 1960s”, an exhibition of black-and-white photographs taken in and around Agios Nikolaos and the Minos Beach Hotel became part of the hotel’s permanent display in summer 2007.
Photographs of Cretan landscapes and traditions, “Crete in black and white”, have been on permanent display at the Minos Palace Hotel since Easter 2011.
The exhibitions were accompanied by lavishly illustrated catalogues which were free to visitors, hotel guests and artists working locally and in exhibitions and workshops abroad. They also feature on the Internet and are regularly updated.
At the same time, two travel books, “The Unknown Crete” and “The Unknown Rhodes” have been published. Through a host of photographs and fascinating descriptions they introduce readers to less well-known monasteries, archaeological sites and other places in and around the two destinations where bluegr hotels are located, encouraging people to discover some of the secret treasures of these two beautiful islands.
In addition, bluegr hotels help guests get to know Crete and Rhodes better by inviting them to take photographs of the places they visit. These are then displayed in the hotel lobbies and are entered in a competition in which the winners receive free holidays and see their pictures posted on the Internet.