Rolex is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and its dedication to fostering arts worldwide. In an unprecedented move, the company will bring this program and some of the world’s most talented artists who have excelled in their art to Athens, celebrating 20 years of mentoring legacy.
The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative holds a unique and distinctive place within the Perpetual Arts Initiative, featuring a generous and global vision of mentoring that significantly contributes to promoting excellence and the future of the arts.
This initiative has earned unparalleled respect and legitimacy as a mentoring program and is a universal reference in artistic circles. It is linked to Rolex’s genuine commitment as a patron of culture and provides new artists with the chance to be mentored by masters in their fields, fostering the confidence they need to recognize and showcase their full creative potential. Additionally, the program helps safeguard the world’s artistic heritage.
Over the past two decades, the program has built a remarkable artistic community that encourages international dialogue across cultures and disciplines, enabling the Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative to achieve its primary objective of transmitting knowledge to new generations of artists on a global scale. The Athens event is a genuine manifestation and celebration of this life-changing program.
Rolex has announced the upcoming celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative with an impressive showcase of multidisciplinary performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, installations, and discussions in Athens. Over 60 Rolex protégés and mentors will share their achievements and ongoing creative relationships through more than 30 performances and events across nine venues in Athens for a full week in spring 2023.
The Rolex Arts Festival, which spans various fields such as dance, theatre, music, film, architecture, visual arts, and literature, will present outstanding international artists who have benefited from the support of Rolex to advance their work. The festival will take place from 26 to 28 May, and a pre-festival programme dedicated to engaging Greek artists, arts professionals, and young people will be offered from 22 to 25 May.
The festival aims to inspire the people of Athens and showcase the commitment of Rolex to reaching the pinnacle of performance by supporting individuals and organizations in the arts. The pre-festival programme will feature the participation of dozens of Greek artists in 14 free public and professional events.
The festival is being curated by independent arts advisor and programmer Emma Gladstone OBE, who was the former Artistic Programmer at Sadler’s Wells in London and former Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Dance Umbrella. A distinguished eight-member Greek Advisory Committee has provided counsel and assistance in organizing all aspects of the Rolex Arts Festival.
The festival seeks to honor the spirit of communal engagement and creative energy of the Rolex fellows by highlighting three broad themes: the relationship of sharing at the core of the program, the impact of this sharing on the fellows, and the ongoing artistic legacy that the fellows are now creating around the world.
Rebecca Irvin, head of the mentoring programme at Rolex, expressed excitement about the outpouring of creative energy and the spirit of communal engagement that the fellows will be offering in Athens. The festival will showcase the multidisciplinary achievements fostered by the Rolex mentoring program, which has received an overwhelming and unanimous response from Rolex fellows.
The Rolex Arts Festival is a series of events and presentations that are open to the public at minimal cost, with ticket proceeds going towards arts programmes supported by partner institutions. The festival features exhibitions, screenings, theatrical presentations, dance events, music events, installation works, and a literary presentation. The festival showcases the works of the current Rolex Arts fellows in various fields such as visual arts, architecture, film, theatre, dance, music, and literature. The festival also features talks and discussions moderated by mentors, including Carrie Mae Weems and Sir David Chipperfield, and a post-show talk featuring Rolex mentor Phyllida Lloyd. The festival takes place at various locations in Athens, including the Athens Conservatoire, Benaki Pireos 138, and the Megaron Gardens.
The Rolex Arts Festival will offer various events and presentations to the general public at minimal cost, with ticket proceeds going to partner institutions for their arts programmes. These events include group exhibitions, short film screenings, theatrical presentations, dance events, music performances, installation works, a music commission and performance, and readings by literature fellows. Two special “Sideways Mentoring” events will showcase how fellows collaborate across disciplines. Public discussions will also be presented throughout the festival, with topics such as the impact of creative work, creative alchemy, and lifelong learning. The festival will end with a Gala evening featuring performances by music fellows and the participation of the Greek women’s a capella ensemble Chores. Most of the festival will be in English with Greek translation available, and film and video works will have Greek and English subtitles.
Leading up to the Rolex Arts Festival, a four-day pre-festival program (May 22-25) will take place. This program will include various activities such as day-long workshops, masterclasses, public talks, musical performances, rehearsals, and more. These events will involve numerous Greek artists, Rolex fellows, and mentors, including Anne Lacaton, Phyllida Lloyd, Robert Lepage, Walter Murch, and Colm Tóibín.
The Advisory Committee for both the festival and pre-festival programs is composed of Eleftheria Deko (a cross-disciplinary artist working in lighting design for performance, architecture, and art), Katerina Evangelatos (the Artistic Director of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival), Sofia Exarchou (the writer-director of the 2016 award-winning film Park), Katerina Gregos (the Artistic Director of EMST, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens), Alexandros Drakos Ktistakis (a drummer, composer, and orchestrator), Euripides Laskaridis (a choreographer/performer and founder of the Osmosis company), Ilias Papageorgiou (an architect, founder, and principal of the PILA studio), and Kostas Spatharakis (an editor, translator, and founder of Antipodes Publications).