The Lakkos Artists Residency is a flexible space that does not discriminate between creative practices. We regularly put on last-minute events with whoever in the house wants to get involved. We often make introductions and collaborations with locals but this depends on the time of the year and the mood of the locals.
The house was built in the 1930s and is in the Modernist style. It was once one big family home but it has now been split into two apartments. It has two artists' bedrooms upstairs that share a kitchen and bathroom on the same level. Mathew who runs the residency is a visual artist and lives with his partner in a separate apartment downstairs. Downstairs there is a shared courtyard. The artists have access to a tiny roof terrace that is good for yoga or just to have some time alone.
The residency is located at the edge of Heraklion's old town, four buildings down from an exit to and from the city via the Venetian walls. As the nearby street is a busy shopping one, the location is not quiet during shopping hours. This is offset by the fact that there are many places to eat or grab a drink or coffee minutes away, there is even a free bicycle hire place 50 metres from the front door! Don't come expecting picture-perfect Santorini or Mykonos as this is a real Greek city.
At the moment there is no studio space but we hope to find something in the new area soon. After running a residency for seven years we find that most guests are happy to work from their bedrooms which have desks and nice natural light. There is a sunny kitchen that could be used for painting. Happily we have been offered the use of a great events space for exhibitions or whatever else fits the venue just around the corner. Photos to follow after we have put the space to use.
Please note that the following photos are just quick snaps while we wait for a time to get a professional photographer in. 21/05/2003. The window shutters and front courtyard still need work. The photo of the terracotta room is Mathew and his partner's private space. It is often open for events or chats with the artists.
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 will benefit from 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. Two buses per day come and go from Heraklion. 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. There is a rocky beach to walk to in fifteen minutes or half an hour to the sandy one. 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 electric heaters in the bedrooms. The new residency house is much easier to keep warm because of better insulation.
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. 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.
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. The previous residency was well known for doing murals. With the location change we will slowly get back to that but first we must gain the locals confidence. 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!
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