With your help we are seeking to raise up to £50,000 to restore the artists' studios at the Cyprus College of Art studios at Lemba. The studios have been home to thousands of artists and art students from around the world over the past 30 years. They are a well used and well loved space, dedicated to the pursuit of art. They were built by dozens of artists visiting Cyprus, including some well known names, but they are now showing their age and are in need of restoration and renovation.

Lemba Art Studios Restoration - Stage 1 (Summer 2014)

We are seeking your help in the restoration and renovation of the artists' studios at the Cyprus College of Art in Lemba (Lempa). We need to raise a total sum of £50,000, but in the initial phrase are looking for between £5,000 and £10,000 to start the renovation project. Our initial target has been set at £5000, but the more we raise the quicker we can do the work.

The Cyprus College of Art studios in Lemba have been home to thousands of artists and art students from around the world. Founded by Stass Paraskos in 1969, the Cyprus College of Art is not like any other art college in the world. Although the College does teach courses, it has always been a place where artists and art students from around the world can come together, exchange ideas, make work and enjoy each other's company without the trivial concerns of accreditation and validation that bog standard art schools seem to worry about. In short it is a place made by artists, for artists.

But it is also a place literally made by artists. The studios were built by dozens of artists visiting Cyprus mainly in the 1980s and 90s, including some well known names. Since then they have been well used, but they are now showing their age. Some are over 30 years old and were only built of plywood. Our aim is to restore and improve them, replacing rotten boards, weatherproofing the space, and insulating it against summer heat and winter cold.

The Great Wall of Lempa at the Cyprus College of Art

A little more about the Cyprus College of Art

It was Peter de Francia, Professor of Painting at London's Roy

al College of Art, who summed up the Cyprus College of Art most accurately. 'To make an art school,' de Francia said, 'all you need are four art

ists sat under a tree. As soon as they start talking you have an art school.'

De Francia is only one of many distinguished artists to visit the Cyprus College of Art over the years. Others have included the great English sculptor Sir Anthony Caro, and the painters Sir Terry Frost, Euan Uglow and Bridget Riley. In fact, so many members of Britain's Royal Academy, the heart of the British art world, have a Cyprus College of Art connection that the art historian John Cornell has written in The London Magazine that the Cyprus College of Art is responsible for introducing Cypriot elements into British art.

Founded in 1969, the Cyprus College of Art is one of the oldest cultural institutions in Cyprus. It was started in Famagusta by the distinguished Cypriot artist Stass Paraskos with support from Archbishop Makarios.

Image shows Stass Paraskos (right) and British poet Martin Bell (left) meeting Archbishop Makarios in 1968 to discuss setting up the Cyprus College of Art

Archbishop Makarios and Stass Paraskos

It has studio space in the village of Lempa near Paphos and in the centre of Larnaca. But to some people the attraction of the College is a bit of a mystery. If you visit the College in Lempa you do not find a luxurious building or expensive equipment. Although the studios in Lempa are surrounded by a well loved sculpture garden, parts of them seem to be falling down. 'It is a bit rough in places,' says Margarita Paraskos, director of the College in Lempa. 'But de Francia was right. A great art college is always about great artists coming together and talking about art. The building is irrelevant.'

We still believe that, but with the buildings now starting to crumble, we do need to do some work on them, and as the Cyprus College of Art has always been run for the love of art and never the love of money, we need your help to pay for this restoration.

Image shows cover of Norbert Lynton's book on Stass Paraskos

Cover of Norbert Lynton's book on Stass Paraskos

The Project

A group of volunteer architecture students from the University of Creative Arts in Canterbury (UK) will spend part of the summer 2014 restoring and improving the College studios and part of the accommodation. Their aim is to:

1. Replace rotten wood and plasterwork

2. Paint and weatherproof the walls

3. Begin work on insulating the walls to provide protection from the summer heat and the winter cold.

4. Improve the concrete flooring where it is cracking and disintergrating through age and small earthquakes

5. Create a new lockable storage area following significant thefts of equipment from the College

6. Improve ancillary and utility provision (that means kitchens, toilets etc.)

This is part 1 of a longer term project that will see the studios and accommodation completely renovated over the next five years.

Although the architecture students will give their labour and expertise free, they do need funds for materials, equipment hire and (if necessary) special help, for example with electrics etc.

This is a very worthwhile project that should see the Cyprus College of Art able to continue to function as an amazing creative space for another 30 years at least!

Stass Paraskos teaching students at the Cyprus College of Art