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SNF Cultural Center’s fifth anniversary: Reflecting on millions of visitors, thousands of arts events, and a self-sustaining future

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) has hosted 20 million visitors and over 16,000 events during the five years since it was turned over to the Greek state (2017-2021), it announced on Thursday.

In a related statement, SNF Chairman Andreas Dracopoulos said the foundation is renewing its support for another year, with a donation of 10 million euros to cover operational costs and programming. Begun “as a risky idea, in the difficult time of a social and economic crisis, it became a reality and exceed the highest expectations,” the statement said.

Dracopoulos said that SNFCC’s greatest success “is the way it has been embraced by all people, creating – as originally envisioned, and in collaboration with architect Renzo Piano – a public space, open and accessible.” The project needed a lot of work by many people, and “the excellent collaboration of the public and private sectors,” he noted.

Self-sustaining future

The resulting national landmark is also the home of the National Opera and the National Library of Greece. Combined with the Stavros Niarchos Park, SNF noted, they attract thousands of visitors daily who embrace it, get entertained, express themselves, chat, get together and enjoy quality time. In the five years of its existence, 110,000 have participated in tours of the premises and over 340,000 students have visited it.

“We at SNF continue to support SNDCC, to the best of our abilities, while also looking forward to and hoping that in the near future it will be able to be entirely self-supporting, in order to continue to serve its role as a project created by people for the people,” SNF said.

From the idea’s concept to the present, SNF has donated a total of 608 million euros to the project, or USD739 million, most of which went to construction and operational costs and the preparation of free events for its first five years of operation, both of which were part of its commitment to the Greek state. More funding has been donated to support programs and infrastructural needs beyond its original plans.

Young people

Among its programs funded so far, the foundation pointed out, are 11 cycles of paid apprenticeships for over 900 young people to improve their skills and boost their job-searching options, as a contribution to reducing the high unemployment rates for young people. Besides the programs offered daily, SNFCC has also partnered with over 40 international and local organizations, served as a venue for key events like the speech of US President Barak Obama in November 2016, and organized the annual SNF Nostos event celebrating the arts and culture.