STERNA, founded in 2014 by artist Greg Haji Joannides, is an interdisciplinary non for profit organization whose purpose is to foster and nurture the creative expression of artists while challenging perceptions of what constitutes contemporary visual culture. The Sterna Art Project is designed as an active site, a space for artists to converge through its residency programs, workshops, meetings and exhibitions throughout the whole year in various spaces around the island. The organization places a strong emphasis on the location of the residency in Nisyros and works actively to make a compelling connection between the resident artists and the island, its residents and the existing cultural events.


STERNA organization designs every year the Art Project in cooperation with independent curators and other cultural organizations. As of 2022 STERNA runs the FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM, a residency program that supports up to 5 graduatefrom the greek Schools of Fine Arts annually to work on project on Nisyros. Outside the organization’s programme, artists that are interested in being in residency may apply by submitting their project that are willing to work on along with prospective funding resources to cover their expenses.

The organization is facilitated by the residence, studio and turret located within the Pantoniki medieval castle in Emporeios, Nisyros, Dodecanese. It owes its name to the cistern (sterna, in Greek) situated in the interior of the residence, the biggest cistern ever built in Emporeios. At a metaphorical level, this cistern acts as a receptacle for new ideas, encounters and interventions. STERNA is also facilitated, with the support of the Municipality of the Nisyrians, by the Bath house (Loutra) and the Polyvotis hostel in Mandraki.

STERNA has the capacity to house 10 resident artists simultaneously at the three spaces. The residency includes travel costs to/from Nisyros, a materials budget, a living stipend, studio/exhibition space and administrative support for the realization of projects. By the end of the programme, resident artists are requested to leave a trace/mark, an artwork which operates both as an “archive” as well as a “memory” of their participation.

STERNA is a non-profit organization that relies fully on fundraising and donations. For more info on how to support Sterna’s activities you may contact us.

Nisyros is the crater of the volcano of Kos, an active volcano with 4km caldera with a diameter of about 8 km, and an area of 41.6 km2. It is part of the Dodecanese group of islands, in the southeastern Aegean Sea, situated south of Kos and northwest of Tilos. Visitors can reach the island travelling by plane from Athens to Kos (daily flights) and then by boat, either one-hour trip from Kardamaina or a two-hour one from Kos’ main port. Otherwise the island is reachable by boat from Piraeus twice a week. From April to October, there are also direct flights daily from most European cities to Kos. According to ancient mythographers, Nisyros was created by the god Poseidon during his battle with the giant Polyvotis, whom he pursued until he came to the island of Kos. Using his trident to break off and hurl a fragment of Kos, Poseidon crushed Polyvotis under the rock’s weight. That rock, the myth says, is Nisyros!