Our policyOur aim is to promote Cyprus as a new and exciting destination for artists to visit and to be inspired by what if offers. We achieve this because our hotel in Lefkara is the perfect location for artists and our objective is to be the catalyst that returns the village to its previous fame as a centre for fine traditional handicrafts. The village’s authenticity, rich cultural history, traditional cuisine and stunning surrounding landscape completely captures the essence of the Eastern Mediterranean. To maximise this experience for our guests we have chosen to only employ local Cypriot artists. This allows them to share their techniques and also knowledge of Cypriot art, culture and it’s history with all our guests.
All our prices are fully inclusive of transport (this includes transfer from and to Larnaca airport but not Paphos), accommodation, meals, tuition and all art supplies provided in our own studio. Our hotel offers air-condition, WiFi and en-suite facilities and the only additional costs are for drinks when on plein-air trips or other private purchases where applicable. We do however charge single person supplements.
Economic responsibilityOur intention is to influence the Cypriot government to embrace the fact that Cyprus can offer creative and more responsible forms of tourism, in particular working with local communities and artisans, now and in the future. We work closely with the Cyprus Tourist Organisation and other bodies to persuade the authorities that it can be done and to prove that diversifying their current tourism strategy will bring further economic prosperity to Cyprus by promoting Cypriot culture and raising environmental awareness. We are the only company in Cyprus that offers painting holidays in the current format but are very keen to see others follow our footsteps and we are willing to share our experiences to help others.
We employ local Cypriot artists to deliver our courses to promote Cypriot art, artists and their techniques, but also to raise awareness that the island and its artisans can and should engage in tourism that offers much more than a typical all-inclusive beach holiday. Currently our hotel staff are 3rd country nationals who have taken advantage of the Cypriot government’s drive to support the tourism industry due to the lack of sufficient local skilled workforce and therefore we indirectly support other poorer economies. We are however working to remedy this and our aspiration is to employ Cypriots in the long-term but this has to be in accordance with the EU workforce discrimination framework. We actively engage local Cypriot artisans, lace-makers and silversmiths, who provide demonstrations and showcase their work to our painters and to provide occasional additional income for local businesses. For example, our course incorporates a plein-air day at a local olive farm introducing painters to traditional techniques of olive cultivation and olive oil production.
Where possible we strive to source our hotel supplies from local businesses and procure fresh produce from the local butcher and greengrocers. We feel strongly that we are part of our local community and will support local artisans whenever we can, offering the use of our studio or other facilities when this is possible.
Environmental responsibilityA significant part of our course is spent in the open air. The spectacular landscape of the Troodos foothills inspires the artists to capture both the rugged Mediterranean landscape and natural flora and fauna of olive, carob, orange and lemon groves. All our painters are briefed in advance concerning the importance of protecting ecologically sensitive areas in particular rare habitats and flora and fauna. In particular the use of foreign substances such as oil paints and cleaners are controlled and all detritus (albeit we use reusable packed lunch containers) removed from the various locations after each session. Our intention is to leave a minimum ‘footprint’ at each of our sites. We also dispose of wastewater and other cleaning substances resulting from painting activity at a recycling centre. Although Cyprus is a late adopter of recycling we recycle some glass (most bottles are returnable), cans and plastics but not bio waste (food) as in Germany for example as this is prohibited. Cyprus faces water shortages most years and we highlight this to our guests by encouraging them to conserve water by reusing their room towels and bed linen for at least 3 days or preferably longer. We do not have a swimming pool and therefore included a plein-air site during the course at a nearby beach for guests to take the opportunity to swim in the sea should they wish to do so. Our hotel is a listed building and the property of the Cyprus Orthodox Bishopric who will not permit a solar energy installation, however to minimise any unnecessary energy waste we monitor and regulate the use of heating daily and seek the cooperation of our guests accordingly.
Detailed course information leaflets and proformas are forwarded electronically to our guests in advance of the course and additional information is also available from our website. We encourage our guests not to bring art supplies as we are keen to support local suppliers. Although it is not feasible to operate a paperless business we nevertheless keep our level of printing and therefore use of printing inks to an absolute minimum.
Social responsibilityOur courses offer painters the opportunity to discover and experience the natural beauty of the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. We are located in the village of Lefkara in South Eastern Cyprus where since at least the 14th century lace or ‘Lefkaritika’ has been made by hand by local women who have passed down the technique and patterns first introduced to the island by Venetian courtiers who ruled the island beginning in 1489. This allowed the village to prosper and explains the rich and diverse architecture of traditional and colonial merchant architecture that has proved so popular with our guest artists. Unfortunately lacemaking is in decline and we have chosen the village because of it’s unique history to promote not only our painting holidays but also the local artisans. We have secured the support of the village mayor and given a commitment to continue to promote and if feasible offer lacemaking courses in the future. Our course is designed for our guests to see the ‘real’ Cyprus and to encourage a better understanding of local custom and culture. Our artists guide and introduce our guests to local villagers and includes time spent in the local ‘Kafineion’ (coffee houses), the local olive oil farm and also visits to beautiful churches and chapels where our guests are reminded of the appropriate dress expected in Orthodox places of worship.
Lefkara has beautiful and ancient chapels including the church of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross) and the chapel of Archagelos Michail that contains frescos that date from the 12th and 15th centuries. We take a great interest in protecting these buildings and we raise awareness of their current vulnerability with authorities as they form part of our plein-air itinerary. We hope to galvanise the authorities to invest with us in preserving such buildings by demonstrating their attraction for artists and the wider opportunity for revenue streams from alternative forms of tourism.