The Lakkos artists residency is a flexible space and works best with a variety of creative activities. At the end of most creatives stay the experience of mixing with the other guests is the most memorable. We often put on last minute events with whoever in the house wants to get involved. We sometimes make introductions and collaborations with locals but this often depends on the time of the year and the mood of the locals.
The house and artists studios
The main house has two double and two single bedrooms. The single bedrooms have access to their own terrace. All rooms in the main house have access to a shared bathroom downstairs and a communal kitchen. The bedrooms have all been restored and happily the kitchen and basic bathroom have just been finished as well. There is a central courtyard and large roof terrace which now has a large shady pergola.
The artists residency is located right in the middle of Heraklion cities old town. Don't come expecting picture perfect Santorini or Mykonos as this is a real Greek city. The house is actually two houses owned by one family. All houses stood abandoned for between 10 and 18 years before becoming an artists residency. Much restoration has taken place but there is still some work to be done! The area is very quiet except for the older locals and their sometimes barking dogs. The residency is run by Australian visual artist Mathew Halpin. Mathew lives at the residency.
The houses were once one big Turkish house built many years ago. In the 1920's with the Asia Minor/ Greek population exchange Greeks bought the house and changed it to three. Now two of the houses are used for various artistic purposes with four studio spaces.
NEWS! The village house
The residency has been given the use of a beautiful old, stone house in a wonderful village called Ano Asites. Guests who stay here must be after a quiet place to live, and work. The house can only host one or two artists at a time, if you like other artists around to talk to stick to the city residency. Presentations are possible, and murals and other artistic interventions can be made. There are two mini markets but no art material shop. Three buses per day come and go. It's a 45 minute bus to Heraklion city. Because the village is much higher than Heraklion city it would be a great place to escape the summer heat. In winter sometimes it snows. Wood fires, and gas heaters will keep the spaces warm in the colder months. It's also possible to get buses, or hire a car to get to beaches either side of the island. For people who like to hike it is the closest village to the mountain hut, located on the highest mountain on Crete. There are two gorges and many churches and a monastery to explore.
Here are some photos of the village house. As many original features as possible will be saved. Traditional furniture mixed with original art works. Internet yes. It has a full kitchen and bathroom + hot water. Recently the house was fully rewired.
When is best to come?
Spring (April to June) is the best time to come. The island is covered in wild flowers and the weather is perfect! The sea is starting to warm up if you are brave. Tourists are few.
Summer (July to September) in Heraklion sits at around 30 degrees Celsius. There is no air-conditioning to keep costs down. All rooms have fans. If you don't like heat please don't book summer. There is a beach to walk to in half an hour. For beaches with shade you need to take a local bus. There are endless choices of beaches short bus trips away.
Autumn (October to December) like spring is perfect! The sea is still nice to take a swim. The temperature is pleasant and the tourists have gone.
Winter (January to March) can get cold and wet depending on the year. There are electric blankets on the beds and portable gas heaters depending on where the guests want to be.
Suggested donations go towards creating a new residency house, art projects and maintenance costs. To keep costs down food is not included. The kitchens are fully stocked with all of the cooking utensils needed except for a microwave oven. There are supermarkets and a huge fresh fruit and veg market close by.
After you agree to an amount of time to stay and a cost this must be followed. If artists decide to do trips inside of the agreement you must still pay for the time booked. Many day trips are possible, if you want to do big trips it would be better to plan them before or after your stay. Before booking please think about the fact that this is an artists residency not a tourists hotel. If you want to come to Crete to be more of a tourist then book a hotel.
The residency doesn't offer free stays in return for work. Because of the Pandemic, a big future relocation and the earthquake of 2021 funds are very tight.
Residency conditions/ facts
Minimum of two weeks stay. (Shorter can be possible if there are gaps). Long stays are possible but you must have a very solid project to keep you busy. Only book long stays if you are more serious about working and less about being a tourist. Partners on application. Sorry no pets or children. A project/ research should be planned in advance. Its okay to not have a solid project planned but don't just book here to hang out. There is no expectation to leave an artwork behind or make an exhibition. Working language is English. For visual artists who would like to leave a mural, large or small on a streets of Lakkos this is possible. Keep in mind that the area is small and sometimes good walls are hard to find. We often paint over older murals that have been damaged. The residency provides basic paint colours for one mural only. Like any warm place Crete gets mosquitoes in summer. If you are somebody who gets bitten you must look after your own protection. Bring some mosquito repellent or buy it here. The herbal ones don't work! The main house has two small dogs and one cat who are very friendly. Pronouns. If you're coming from a country where the use if personal pronouns is important please remember this is Greece and not an English speaking country. Getting upset with locals who don't understand your choices will just leave you upset. Enjoy a different culture and don't insist on your own here. Due to previous bad experiences there is a no sex between residence policy. What seems like a good idea at the time generally ends with one person feeling rejected followed by too much disturbance for those not involved. If you must have a 'romantic' encounter try Tinder/ Grindr and keep it out of the house.
Please if you have allergies to cats and dogs you must mention this before booking to come.
Freddy, Betty and Nina are all very loving and often a favourite part of many artists stay.
Things to do while in Crete and Heraklion.
We have many different types of artists who come to stay. We always do what we can to introduce our artists to locals practicing similar disciplines. The underground arts scene is growing quickly in Heraklion. There are also local courses in painting and drawing, ceramics, yoga, dance. It is a small city but it does have a bit of pretty much anything you might want.
Generally most guests want to avoid the regular tourist traps. This is not always possible especially with the archaeological museum and Knossos palace. But as we also like the more obscure things to see on Crete we can give many good tips. The residency is about a half hour walk from the closest (there is now a free city circle but to this beach). Supermarkets and the fresh food market are also very close. There are a few places to buy art materials and hardware shops are also a short walk away.
Easy day trips.
Knossos palace really is a must see. If you combine your ticket with the Archaeological museum you get a much better price. The palace is a 20 minute bus trip from the residency. The museum is a 10 minute walk. www.explorecrete.com/archaeology/antiquities-crete.html Archanes village is possibly the oldest continually inhabited village in Europe. Its history goes back 5000 years and is build above a Minoas village/ palace. It is a 25 minute local bus drive away from Heraklion. The village is very beautiful and the bus trip there travels through Europes oldest grape growing region. On Sunday nights the local kafeneon always has live local music for free. www.we-love-crete.com/arhanes.html
Walking in the remote areas. Walking tours are normally a big turn off as group tourism is pretty vile. But there are local walking groups that charge very little and take groups to remote locations. You wont hear any languages apart from Greek on these tour. Our experiences with them are always fun and it is not hard to find somebody who talks in English. Going south is a must. It can be done on local buses without a tour as well. Here are some photos of a walking trip we did to South Rethymnon. It was mid Autumn (October) but still hot and great for swimming. It was a 6 hour hike which ended at a fabulous beach tavena where the beer was very needed! www.eos-her.gr/en/program/ http://www.pezoporikos.gr/en/ Samaria george is one of the big highlights of coming to Crete. It is a long drive to the the gorge but if you are willing to get up early it is possible. A taxi to the collection point is the best way. www.tripsomnia.com/en/p/511-crete-samaria-gorge www.getyourguide.com/crete-l404/crete-hiking-tour-in-samaria-gorge-t56068/
The Ancient city of Gortyna is in our minds much more fulfilling than Knossos. Knossos is a must see but it is overrun with tourists. Gortyna has one paid part but most of it is lying in olive fields. Apart for goats and the occasional Sheppard you wont see anybody. You can catch a local bus which is about 45 minutes from Heraklion. You can also go via Matala beach and do two stops in one day. www.explorecrete.com/archaeology/gortys.html
As Heraklion is in the middle of the island nothing is too far to travel to. We have done much adventuring so tips are plentiful!
Stuff to do around the residency
The Lakkos kafeneon is one minutes walk away from the residency, on a lovely square. During the day it is good for breakfast and coffee. In the evening it is one of the best places for some drinks and small Greek dishes called Mezes. As it is so close to the house we often have drinks there. www.facebook.com/lakkos.gr/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf