By Vicky Yiannias
The new Hellenic Museums Shop in the Atrium of the Olympic Tower made its debut on October 22 simultaneous with the opening of the Onassis Cultural Center’s exhibit “From Ishtar to Aphrodite: 3200 Years of Cypriot Hellenism”.
The chic, tastefully appointed shop carries exquisite jewelry, decorative items, and more, faithfully modeled by master craftsmen on masterpieces in the Hellenic museums as well as masterful pieces freely-adapted from museum originals, excellent publications of folk arts, and CD’s of traditional music with traditional instruments.
“The Atrium of the Olympics Tower becomes more and more a “Hellenic cultural house in the center of Manhattan with the opening of the new Hellenic Museums Shop”, said Ambassador Loukas Tsilas, Executive Director of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Association USA. “And beginning with the upcoming January 4, 2004, exhibit “Coming of Age in Ancient Greece: Images of Childhood from the Classical Past,” the shop will complement Onassis Cultural Center exhibits by carrying artifacts directly culture-related to the exhibits.
Both Ambassador Tsilas and Lia Neiadas, Director of the Hellenic Museums Shop, in interviews with the Greek News, strongly emphasize that one of the great values of the Hellenic Museum Shop is to bring Greek art and Greek culture from over the centuries to the non-Greek and Greek-American public, to people who love Hellenic art, to those who want to learn about it, love Greece, have visited Greece, or want to go to Greece. “The shop brings the greater American public to the Hellenic museums,” says Ambassador Tsilas.
“Although the Hellenic Museums Shop Is not connected with the Onassis Foundation,” says Ms. Neiades, “it shares a common goal…introducing and promoting Hellenic art and culture to the public.”
Ambassador Tsilas points out that particularly significant about the shop’s artifacts is that they are not ordinary, mass-reproduced reproductions of originals. They are authentically made, modeled, cast, engraved, filigreed, and painted using original techniques, one example being the use of egg tempera in the painting of icons.
Ms. Neiadas, noting that the shop provides an excellent shopping venue for Christmas gifts, describes her favorite pieces: a tiny, elegant, shiny sterling silver KYLIX, or two-handled drinking cup, modeled on a 6th Century BC Kylix whose handles spiral onto the body of the cup, from the Cycladic Museum; a sterling silver Aryballos, freely adapted from a glass vase decorated with the timeless spiral design of the ancients and dating from the third millenium BC and in the Cycladic Museum; The “Caravel” a gold plated hanging pendant in the shape of a boat with light blue, dark blue, and white inlaid enamel and pearls, the original dating from 80 AD and found on the island of Patmos.
The high quality of the artifacts in the shop is not reflected in high-prices. “The shop does not seek to make a big profit,” says Ambassador Tsilas, noting that although insurance, freight, and customs charges must be taken into consideration, “the pieces are offered at very affordable prices,” noting that the shop cooperates with the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, the Benaki Byzantine Museum, which represents all the other government–run Byzantine archaeological museums of Greece in the artifacts it brings.”
Hellenic Museums Shop hours are 10AM to 6PM, Monday through Saturday. Closed on Sundays.
The Hellenic Museums Shop, located in the Atrium of the Olympic Tower, is run by the Olympic Atrium LLC, a company connected with the building.
Coming up in early 2004, the opening of the elegant, new, The Atrium Café, also in the Atrium of the Olympic Tower, will offer a great place to relax and have something delicious to drink after you have visited the Hellenic Museums Shop.