The Modernity of the Ancient Greek Discus – Artist Spotlight

The Greektown Arts Committee (GAC) and SSA #16 are thrilled to announce the launch of the 2019 public art display. The Modernity of the Ancient Greek Discus celebrates Greek architecture and Olympic sport. Twenty vibrant sculptures now line Halsted Street adding beauty and culture to Greektown. “We asked local professional artists and school children to put their spin on this unique melding of ancient and modern. The results are exquisite,” said Eve Moran, chair of the GAC.  Information about the artists can be found below.

  • Aliki Sitaras Karampelas – A Glenview-based artist who was born on the Greek island of Xios, Karampelas came to the United States in 1973 and learned English quickly. Within two years of living in the U.S., she graduated college with a degree in marketing management, and moved to Chicago. Karampelas works mostly in watercolor and acrylic and focuses on depictions of female faces.
  • Diane Thodos – Thodos is a Chicagoland area artist of Greek descent, who is influenced by abstract expressionist art. A student of Jackson Pollock’s teacher Stanley William Hayter, Thodos won a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 2002. Her work has been displayed internationally in France, Germany and Mexico City, and has been collected by the Milwaukee Museum of Art, National Hellenic Museum and more. She is currently represented by the Thomas Masters Gallery in Chicago and Gallery A & D in Highwood, Ill.
  • Kathleen King – Chicago-based artist and educator, Kathleen King, will teach drawing and watercolor courses as a visiting adjunct professor in Korea University’s 2019 international summer campus program. She serves on the board of the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts, located on the Greek island of Skopelos. In addition to serving on the board, King has taught courses and workshops at the foundation.
  • Kiki Whitehead – Whitehead’s artistic roots began as a child. She attended art school to hone her skills in charcoal drawing and oil painting. She recently illustrated children’s books like “How Does My Mama Know?” and “Ollie Under It” and has a book of her own on the way. Whitehead is honored to be a representative of Greek artists in the Chicago community.
  • James Mesple – Mesple is an artist known for using an ancient process called “technique mixed” for his paintings, which combines egg tempera and oil paints. He learned this unique technique from Fred Shane and Thomas Hart Benton while attending the University of Missouri. His personal interests include classical music and mythic art.
  • Mariana Karampelas – Karampelas is a Chicago-based artist who developed a love of art through her mother, who brought her to the world’s great museums and volunteered at her grade school art enrichment program. Karampelas makes art as a form of self-expression, and her favorite medium is the glue gun.
  • Miss Alex White & Steven Teichelman – The artistic team’s sculpture, “Dark Side of the Discus” marks the collaboration between a Chicago-based musician and a master craftsman. White is the guitarist of rock and roll duo, White Mystery, as well as a visual artist who attended Gallery 37 and graduated from DePaul University. Teichelman earned his degree in furniture design at Virginia Commonwealth University, and currently leads the design studio, Threefold, which fabricates innovative interiors and exteriors across the city. Together, they employed stencils and spray paint to deconstruct the classic Greek column into a contemporary, psychedelic object.
  • Molly McGrath – McGrath is an artist at Project Onward, a studio and gallery at the Bridgeport Art Center in Chicago for adult artists with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Her extensive body of work includes collages, drawings, fiber arts, portraits, painted bottles and more. Her work directly responds to her environment; everyday experiences are her starting point.
  • Patricia Owsiany – Owsiany is an artist living and working in Chicago, who holds a bachelor’s in painting and prints. Her work has appeared in several galleries in Chicago, Evanston and New York. Her latest venture is a solo exhibit that debuts this summer at Space 900 in Evanston.
  • Terry Poulos – Poulos is a polymath artist, writer and entrepreneur at His sculptures have been showcased at the National Hellenic Museum, and his Net Zero Coin is in the collection of four museums. Terry draws inspiration from archeology, science and math.
  • Vasiliki Valkanas – Valkanas is an artist and graphic designer based in the Chicagoland area. She works primarily with graphic design tools and paint, but also plays with drawing mediums, mixed media, sculpture, installation or murals. While her style and subjects change, her clean, modern aesthetic is consistent across her work.
  • Vicky Tesmer – Chicago-based artist, Vicky Tesmer, is known in the Greektown community for her Parthenon Restaurant murals that were painted 20 years ago. You can currently find them at the National Hellenic Museum. Tesmer has done murals throughout Chicago and the Midwest, as well as one-person exhibitions in Egypt and Luxor. This fall, she will be presenting her “Portraits of Chicago” at the Chicago Cultural Center.
  • Victoria Martin – Martin is an artist at DA VICCI STUDIO, holding a bachelor’s in art education and a master’s in performance from the Art Institute of Chicago. Since 1997, she has exhibited large-scale mystical paintings throughout Chicago and has recently started to paint on-site synesthesia action paintings at music events.

SSA #16 and the GAC have partnered with the Chicago Greektown Educational Foundation (CGEF) since 2014. CGEF is an organization dedicated to supporting Greek language and cultural initiatives that enhance the learning experience of Greek American youth. The Foundation’s primary mission is to develop initiatives facilitating the successful implementation of technology into Greek language classrooms. Students from five-area Greek language schools participated in the 2019 art display highlighting the best examples of joy, enthusiasm and talent existing in our community. A list of participating Greek Schools can be found below.

  • Guardian Angel Orthodox Day School
    (St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, Des Plaines)
  • Koraes Elementary School
    (Sts. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Palos Hills)
  • Pythagoras Greek School
    (St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, Des Plaines)
  • Solon Greek School
    (St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Chicago)
  • St. George Greek School
    (St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Chicago)

Watch for profiles of additional artists, including Alexandra Damato and Anastasia Damato, coming soon. The Modernity of the Ancient Greek Discus will be on display in Greektown through November 2019.

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