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2012 – today

10 festivals
5 historical landmarks of Athens
16 buildings
88 locations
600+ Greek and international artists and curators


Athens, 2012. With the rise of the global crisis, it becomes apparent that not only will day to day life be affected, but also to a large extent, the cultural and creative sector. Back to Athens opens into turbulent times; the Greek capital appears to be compromised by the unprecedented outbreak of the socioeconomic crisis and the massive flood of refugees into the heart of the city. The immediate response to these developments was to return back to Athens, to our hometown, the city in which we were raised and live in. Alert to the needs of the city and Athenian neighborhoods, Back to Athens aims to change the general perception of the center as being bleak and dangerous, and restore social connections with its residents. Its program incorporates the vibrancy of the Athenian contemporary art scene into a cultural program open to all.


Once a year, Back to Athens Festival connects the city’s artistic community in a cultural get-together of events featuring visual art and new media installations, sculpture, painting, photography and video, interventions, visual, theatrical and sound performances, short films, talks, screenings, discussions, workshops and guided tours. Back to Athens is a platform through which ideas are developed and actualized but more importantly, it is a meeting place in the heart of the city for artists and the international art community.

Back to Athens’s success lies in the overall curatorial program that reflects on current challenges and issues of contemporary Athens, and most importantly, through the exhibition proposals and elements of exploration, experimentation and study. These features are necessary for the development of intercultural dialogue, interaction between artists, the public and locals. Back to Athens aims for art to be accessed on a daily basis and to be embraced by general public, not only the experienced art audience.

Back to Athens. The Map

Since 2012, Back to Athens has reopened many historical buildings and venues through its cultural activities, producing a map of the city’s architectural heritage.

It’s exhibition and event program has been hosted in a variety of multicultural neighborhoods, from Kotzia Square to the Exarchia district, the Commercial Triangle of Athens, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens-Plaka area and Patission street, across the Archaeological Museum of Athens. Back to Athens venues include, traditional and non-conventional spaces, operational, empty and abandoned buildings, private and public spaces.

Be my Art Guest

“Be my Art Guest” runs alongside Back to Athens’ core exhibition program. In addition to the main venues, a variety of mixed-use spaces within the area are activated as “pop up” cultural venues. Artists engage with the business owners and create site-specific work. Stores are not seen as temporary exhibition spaces for artists, rather as locations where art integrates with the daily business flow.
Back to Athens’s art map also includes private residences, artist’s and creative’s studios, arcades, streets, squares and other outdoor spaces. Art can be discovered in various unanticipated locations, along daily visited paths and routes within the city. The overall Back to Athens program is structured according to the exhibition and event proposals, the locations, and available buildings.

Back to Athens Artistic Potential

Curatorial proposals from young and developing artists and curators are encouraged for the opportunity and benefits offered; exhibition experience, developing presence within the art community, gaining visibility and exposure for their work. The increase of participants also creates new potential for the future editions of the festival. Back to Athens has played an important role in many artist-curator collaborations that have occurred within and beyond national borders.

Back to Athens, 2012 – today

Back to Athens 10 | 2023 June 28 – July 2, 2023 (Patission, Athens Archeological Museum area)

Back to Athens 9 | 2022 June 29 – July 3, 2022 (Patission, Athens Archeological Museum area)

Back to Athens 8 | 2021 1 – July 4, 2021 (Patission, Athens Archeological Museum area)

Back to Athens 7 | 2020 1 – July 4, 2020 (Athens Commercial Triangle)

Back to Athens 6 | 2018 June 1 – 10, 2018 (Athens Commercial Triangle in collaboration with the Athens Commercial Triangle Program of the Municipality of Athens)

Back to Athens 5 | 2017 June 8 – 18, 2017 (Exarchia square and surrounding area)

Back to Athens 4 | 2016 3 – April 11, 2016 (Exarchia square and surrounding area)

Back to Athens 3 | 2014 3 – April 13, 2014 (Exarchia square and surrounding area) | June 19 – 29, 2014 (Halandri center)

Back to Athens 2 | 2013 (Kotzia Square and surrounding area) April 19 – 28, 2013

Back to Athens 1 | 2012 (Kotzia Square and surrounding area) April 26 – May 8, 2012

Organised by

CHEAPART (2012 – today)
APART Art Research & Applications (2018 – today)
Athens Intersection (2018 – today)

Festival Curator: Georg Georgakopoulos

Back to Athens has been realized with the support of:
• Ministry of Culture and Sports YPPOA (2020, 2022 Support / Auspices)
• “Athens Trigono” Commercial Triangle Upgrade Program of Athens, of the Municipality of Athens (supported by an exclusive donation from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (ISN), with the coordination of Athens Partnership), (2018)
• City of Athens
• Austrian Embassy in Athens (2012 – today)
• Ministry of Culture of Austria (2012 – today)
• Danish Institute in Athens
• National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
• Vikos
• MamosCollaborators
1st, 2nd, 3rd Painting Departments of the Athens School of Fine Arts
Offspring Young Artists
BerlinSoup Festival
John Jay College, New York
Ypsilon Publications
Music Horizons Conservatory
F.O.T.A. (Friends of Trigono Athens)
My Odyssey

Communication sponsors
The Greek Artnewspaper
Athens Art Walk