Grace and Spark

Lighting Beacons for World Harmony

Paros Winter Festival?

Paros Winter Festival: Let's see what is possible to make happen through co-creation

There is very clearly an urgent need for a new type of year-round retreats / events-based  tourism as a counterbalance to the 'rent sunbeds and umbrellas at ridiculous prices' mania that consumes the island in summer. With the opening of an expanded airport this 'boom or bust' approach to tourism is likely to take even more of a centre-stage foothold. See this week's article on the recent World Travel Market Report

So we need to be thinking outside the box. This week, my good friend Matt Coldrick mentioned to me "Wouldn't it be good if Paros had a Winter Festival?" This got us talking on this week's Artists Way session and sparks ignited. So we decided to float this idea out into the ether and see where it goes and who picks up on it...


It's a long term vision, which we would intend to launch properly in 2024. It would be entirely community based and also reflect an increasing awareness of and interest in subject matter such as health, wellbeing, quality food and local heritage, some key interests that are likely to attract visitors to the island out of season, whilst also appealing to islanders who might be bored with what's on offer in terms of winter entertainment options.  

This year we are thinking of offering a ‘prototype’ around the end of November (see Beacon lighting November 24th below) until the beginning of December across the island (we'd have to move quickly!) where we invite people to do at-home style ‘pop up’ events in their home or village / town. These might be talks or how-to sessions, making, arts and crafts, music performance, wellbeing or exercise sessions, fireside meditations, peace vigils, guided walks, writing sessions, visits to places of architectural or historical interest, film nights, fireside meditations, workshops, cookery sessions, gardening and permaculture, quiz nights or anything that takes your fancy. 

Think of it as inviting friends round, even if they are friends you may not have met yet...

From there we would put together a (hopefully full) programme from the community contributions, which we'd publish on our website and as a downloadable PDF. The inspiration for this sort of 9-10 day event came about through attendance many times at Sidmouth Folk Festival in England, where an entire town is taken over for the duration in multiple venues. Grace and Spark were two words that came into my head last week, my Katerina created the greek parallel title Όσο ζεις, λάμψε ! Με χάρη (“While you live, shine!”

Maybe the Paros 'Grace and Spark' Winter Festival will grow in ways we cant imagine. Let's see...


For now we are agreed that we would like to symbolically light the Paros Beacon at 19:00 on Friday November 24th

It’s time to reclaim the idea of Beacons.  Instead of using them merely for the celebration of Royal weddings, anniversaries or such other star-spangled ceremonials, let’s re-ignite them as signals for significant connection and celebration, of the universal desire for more harmony and peace in the world.  The Beacons will bring light to this sense of connection and universal commonality between us all, whatever the beliefs, borders or prejudices.

May the Beacon lighting of the 24th be a spark for global connection but also for the start of a week when we might try out a few DIY events that could help shape the Grace and Spark Paros Winter Gathering.


Grace and Spark is a different sort of festival, one that offers opportunities to grow community at grassroots level. The focus would be  more around wellbeing, spirituality and empowering individuals and local groups and in that sense it would be totally different to other arts organisations on the island in its community focus. 

Grace = Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion. 

Spark = A feeling or quality that causes excitement


In 2024, the event would ideally take place over ten days, possibly between Friday 13th December and Saturday 21st, winter solstice when we will light the Paros Beacon around a community fire.

We want no 'ownership' of this idea, which was born of creative commons and community-minded thinking. But we'd love to know who's up for contributing with admin, promotions, organising events,. spreading the word. A true modern co-creation is possible...

Mail me if you're interested in talking and / or getting involved.

More artwork ideas... feedback welcome!