To us, our house was not unsentient matter – it had a heart, and a soul, and eyes to see us with;
and approvals and solicitudes and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence,
and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction.
ElaGaia is a 100-year-old farmhouse, now restored, in the Artemesian Mountains of Greece, ten kilometers from Argos, the oldest town in Europe. Nearby are Nemea, home of the ancient Nemean Games; Mycenae, a world heritage site, and Nafplio by the sea. Our little house is both home to our many challenges and home to our aspirations for a place to tend the flame of what Western civilization holds dear and defend our shared humanity with the practice of creative collaboration and cultural exchange. Our good friend Ioannis Iordanoglou is director of events at ElaGaia.
Since 2008, Arete has facilitated cultural exchange at ElaGaia, a stone farmhouse near the Greek village of Houni on the Peloponnese. The round threshing floor at ElaGaia was restored as a theatre and Arete has been privileged to host performances by Greek school children, evenings of hospitality and storytelling for visiting American students, a conference for the Green Political Party, and numerous performances by international artists that include Yuriko Doi of the Theatre of Yugen, the Acoustic Vortex, Red Desert Dance Company, and, among others, American jazz great, Howard Paul, and his Greek counterpart Christofis Lefteris. Arete hosted a talented 15-year-old pianist and vocalist from the Music School in Prosymni, Greece, to come to the United States in 2013 and attend The Stanford Jazz Workshop.
In support of educational projects, donations have been made to The Society for the Recreation of the Nemean Games, the Accountability Council, and Women for Afghan Women.
Symposia at Elagaia
View of Artemisio from Elagaia
On the full moon in September, 2019, we will host a recreation of the ancient oral tradition of praise song at ElaGaia in the evening. We invite our guests to participate in a four-day symposium that will include visits to ancient sites as well as lectures by local and outside scholars with a perspective on themes that relate to cultural outreach, the art of friendship and the practice of peace.
In the aftermath of this event, we intend to open the door not only to friends and colleagues, but to those educators, artists and athletes, who may also welcome a place to perform or gather for educational instruction.
With a nominal donation to The Arete Fund, ElaGaia will be available as a venue for events, performances and/or lectures. Given its historical location in what was once the cultural heart of Greece, ElaGaia might also be of interest to educational institutions as a base during summer for studies that relate to ancient Greek culture. Students might explore the archaeological sites at Nemea and Mycenae, and the ancient Theatre of Epidauros, less than an hour from our door, and a draw for all citizens of the world. Accommodations for students are available in nearby Nafplio.
We do this in keeping with the mission of The Arete Fund and in memory of Michael DeLoach Tittle and Dimitri Tzotzos, whose curious and open minds embraced world cultures. In turn, we have come to this small house on a mountain with a deep respect for ancient Greek culture and a sense of urgency that the rising tide of violence and religious intolerance be met with art that holds the human struggle as something infinitely precious and worthy. ....READ MORE...
This video shows the transformation of an old stone farmhouse and a glimpse at some of the cross-cultural events at the house and the surrounding area.
This video tells the story of Telesilla of Argos who turned away the Spartan invasion in 494 B.C. She was famous as a poet. The sites in the video are Larissa Castle and the Temple of Hera