I first came across Albo Fine Art on twitter. I liked the ethos of the Gallery and given that I have not visited Albania, it was an opportunity for me to learn something about the country and the artists who live and work there.
I developed a conversation with Thoma Blana – artist and founder of the Gallery, who told me of his plans to offer painting holidays.
I usually write about places that I have visited, however in this case, it has meant doing some research and what I have found has bowled me over. I have learned that Albania is definitely a place I would like to visit and clearly a country that is coming into its own as a tourist destination – and a superb location for artists.
Albo Fine Arts – Tirana – Albania
The following is an overview of the seven day holiday: – The first one will be next month – March 2017. If this is too short a notice, maybe now is the time to think about next year’s programme when I plan to be part of the group.
Map of Albania…
Catering to both amateur and professional artists, participants will enjoy plein air painting guided by Sadik Kasa, Professor at the Academy of arts, Albania. Basic art supplies will be supplied and a translator will be available.
During the seven day holiday a comfortable mini bus will be provided to take the group to places of interest including Pogradec and Korca – (see map)
Pogradec is on the Albania/Macedania border and is located on the shore of Lake Ohrid.
Lake Ohrid – straddling the mountainous border between southwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania, Lake Ohrid is one of Europe’s deepest and oldest lakes, preserving a unique aquatic ecosystem.After a comfortable nights sleep in air conditioned and well appointed hotels, the group will enjoy breakfast followed by a morning of plein air painting. After enjoying lunch in local restaurants, galleries and other places of interest will be visited for the remainder of the afternoon.
Albania has beaches to rival any elsewhere in the Mediterranean.
As you can see from these photographs – the landscape and subject matter is diverse.
Along with meals in local restaurants, evening entertainment will be on offer.
On one evening, the group will enjoy Albanian folk musicians and towards the end of the week there will be an art exhibition and gala evening at the Albo Gallery. An excellent opportunity for the Group to show the work they have produced during the week, and at the same time learn more about their Albanian counterparts.
Albania has been recommended by Lonely Planet as a top level travel destination –
‘Albania has natural beauty in such abundance that you might wonder why it took 20 years for the country to take off as a tourist destination since the end of a particularly brutal strain of communism in 1991. So backward was Albania when it emerged blinking into the bright light of freedom that it needed two decades just to catch up with the rest of Eastern Europe. Now that it has arguably done so, Albania offers a remarkable array of unique attractions, not least due to this very isolation: ancient mountain codes of behaviour, forgotten archaeological sites and villages where time seems to have stood still are all on the menu. With it’s stunning mountain scenery, a thriving capital in Tirana and beaches to rival any elsewhere in the Mediterranean, Albania has become the sleeper hit of the Balkans. But hurry here, as word is well and truly out.’ Lonely Planet.
And then there is the country’s rich history. The group will see ancient mosaics and murals, along with icons from the Byzantine Orthodox tradition….and so much more.
Icons in Berat – UNESCO site.
The more I learn the more interested I am to visit this country.
Apparently, traditional Albanian culture honours the role and person of the guest. In return for this place of honour, respect is expected from the guest. I like this very much.
For anyone interested in taking up this opportunity here are contact details.
Dates for first painting holiday are: 20th March 2017 til 27th March. Dates for subsequent holidays have yet to be published. For flights – Mother Teresa Airport, Tirana
All other information with regard to costs etc., can be obtained from Thoma Blana – Albo Fine Art or Thoma’s daughter, Ines Blana
http://www.albo.artistwebsites.com (where you can also see artists represented by the Gallery) – or email at firstname.lastname@example.org – phone – 00355696191873 – 00355696554875
You can also find Albo Fine Art on FB and Twitter.
I will look forward to visiting Albania next year and hope others will join me.