New Greek TV's featured Greek of the Week is Ioanna Lalaounis.
Ms. Lalaounis serves as the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum (ILJM) Director, where she continues to carry on her famed father's legacy, along with her three sisters. The ILJM resides in the heart of Athens and is the only jewelry museum in Greece. It serves as a nonprofit cultural organization and is certified by the Greek Ministries of Finance and Culture. To watch an exclusive on-air interview with the acclaimed Director, scroll down to the very bottom of this article.
The ILJM was founded by Ms. Lalaounis' beloved father Ilias, in 1993. After his death in 2013, Ioanna, along with her sisters Katerini, Demetra and Maria, have continued to run their family's business. The unique Museum's permanent collection encompasses more than 4,000 pieces from over 50 collections, designed by her dad. As a young girl, Ms. Lalaounis would accompany her father to his jewelry workshops, where she first cultivated her love for the Lalaounis line. She received her Master's Degree on the subject from Boston University, and then returned to Athens to continue her family's craft.
As the ILJM states on its website concerning its mission, "The Museum strives to act as an international center for the continuation of traditional crafts, especially the ancient art of silver and goldsmithing. In its twenty years of operation, the ILJM has organized over 70 temporary exhibitions on jewelry and the decorative arts, both in Greece and abroad. 1,200 specialized educational programs have reached over 80,000 children and 60,000 adults. Its future agenda includes introducing new educational methods of art and culture education through fun and inspirational activities for both children and adults. Through the collaboration with other museums and educational institutions, the ILJM aims to promote the art of jewelry and new creativity in traditional and decorative arts."
New Greek TV had the opportunity to interview Ms. Lalaounis during her time in New York City, where she presented, "Putting Greek Jewelry on the World Map: Ilias Lalaounis and the Revival of the Classical Tradition." During the event, the jewelry expert showcased her brand's elaborate designs, and explained how history and art of past times offers inspiration for modern Hellenic jewelry, in the second half of the 20th century.
Ms. Lalaounis revealed, "Ever since we were born, and although I was an art historian and trained as a museologist, I found my way into the business with the nonprofit foundation of the museum."
The famed Director added, "I think it is very important that I combine my cultural mission and to enhance the Lalaounis legacy and contemporary Greek art around the world with providing special programs for children and adults, and for people with special needs. So combining all of that is a very important mission for culture, education and entertainment."
Ms. Lalaounis' dedication to her father's work and her commitment to maintaining his legacy, was felt by all in attendance. What struck me most about the jewelry expert was the devotion she has to sustaining her family's craftsmanship, and her humbleness, warmth, and gratitude for the Greek-American community, who supports her kin's efforts.
As attendee and Hellenic American Women's Council lifetime member Eva Poneros best described, "Ioanna is a fabulous symbol of the modern Greek women. She is educated, she is lovely, and she has carried the tradition of her culture and heritage into the next generation. She comes from a family of very strong, independent women-all educated, and yet they stay very close to their heritage."
To learn more about Ioanna Lalaounis and the Lalaounis brand, visit: http://www.iliaslalaounis.eu/portfolio/ and http://www.lalaounis-jewelrymuseum.gr/en/. To watch New Greek TV's on-air segment with Ms. Lalaounis, scroll to the very bottom of this page. The Greek community is very lucky to call Ioanna Lalaounis their own!