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The Cyprus College of Art is not a college. We used to offer courses, but with so many Supermarket Universities now claiming to teach art, and so many misguided students flocking to them, we decided to offer something different. As a result we are keeping the name, but as of June 2014 we are not a college. We are better than that: we are an artists' studio space.
Founded by the most famous artist ever to come out of Cyprus, Stass Paraskos,the Cyprus College of Art is a space for artists, art students and art lovers to come together, share studio space and enjoy art. That they do this in the beautiful countryside of Cyprus is an added bonus.
The College is located in the village of Lempa, located about 4 kilometres north of the historic town of Paphos. In 2017 Paphos will become the European City of Culture, but the Cyprus College of Art has been the real centre for culture in Paphos for a lot longer than that. Founded in 1969 in the city of Famagusta, the College came to Paphos after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, and Stass, his family and the numerous artists from all over the world who came to live and work at the College began turning Lempa from an an abandoned village with a population of 10 people, into the vibrant living village it is today.
That they did this with their own hands adds to the charm of the place, but it also means the College and its living accommodation is a bit rough and ready. If you want posh or fancy facilities you will not find them here. What you will find is a primitive environment where you can get in touch with your real artistic identity.
It's too hot in summer, too cold in winter, and you have to clean up after yourself. But for real artists it is a kind of paradise.
Or as one visiting artist, Marcus Cope, put it: "The Cyprus College of Art is all about the art, the simple stuff that attracted most of us to this art thing in the first place. It's about developing studio practice without all that professional development crap."
Not everyone is going to like that or want that, which is fine. But for those of you who need to be a real artist, this place is unique and truly special.