Hellenic Cultural Center of the Southwest
The Hellenic Cultural Center of the Southwest (HCC-SW) promotes an understanding of the rich history and legacy that Hellenes have given to civilization and presents the saga of triumphs and sacrifices that were made during this long historic journey. Focusing on Hellenic contributions to language, government, arts, architecture, athletics, science, medicine, and philosophy, HCC-SW programs strives to benefit groups and individuals through education in civic affairs, health and citizenship.
Mission Based Programming
The goal of the HCC-SW is to promote the historical background and intellectual foundation of the Greek aptitude to create poetry, theater, art, philosophical hypothesis, mathematical theorems and lasting architectural designs. This is accomplished through: educational and cultural programs; film presentations; lectures and classes; and exhibitions.
While currently the HCC-SW does not operate out of its own facility, the organization has already produced a variety of programming in spaces around Houston, Texas including a collaboration with the Houston Museum of Natural Science with a special showing of Greece-Secrets of the Past on their IMAX screen with a lecture from Dr. Louis Markos, noted Greek scholar and Professor of English, Houston Baptist University.
Another recent presentation was An Evening with Elia Kazan, where Dr. Markos presented a lecture accompanied by film clips from Kazan’s award winning films. The lecture explored the Greek-American filmmaker's many contributions to the film industry.
In January 2008 HCC-SW collaborated with the Jewish Community Center presenting an exhibit organized by the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece, Hidden Children of Occupied Greece, featuring photographs documenting the often untold story of the estmated 10,000 people who were saved by the courageous acts of the Christians of Greece during World War II.
In April of 2008, HCC-SW presented a free and open to the public symposium, Kazantzakis: His Life and Works, at Rice University, featuring speakers: Professor Darren J.N. Middleton (Texas Christian University), Poet & Scholar Demosthenes Agrafiotis (NSPH University of Athens) and Mr. Vasilis Aivaliotis (University of the Incarnate World). The symposium was a joint effort by The Consulate of Greece, The Cretans of Houston, The Hellenic Professional Society of Texas, Rice University, the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum and The Hellenic Cultural Center of the Southwest.
In October 2008, the HCC-SW collaborated with the The Consulate of Greece-Houston and The University of Houston to presentation of the tragedy, The BACCHAE by Euripides, from Greek theatre company Theatre Scheme of Leonidas Loizides. The play was performed in Dudley Hall at the Univerity of Houston in English by an all female cast and directed and produced by Leonides Loizides. Music composed and arranged by Demetrios Katis.
In April of 2009, in collaboration with The Hellenic Parliament Foundation for Parliamentarism and Democracy, the Consulate General of Greece in Houston, the Consulate General of Italy and the Houston Grand Opera, the cultural center helped to bring to Houston, Maria Callas: A Tribute. This photographic exhibition was first presented in Athens, in 2007, under the title Maria Callas 30 Years Later on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Callas’ death. Since then, it became the traveling exhibition Maria Callas: A Tribute, which was shown for the first time in the U.S. last February in Washington, D.C.
Once a facility has been obtained, further programming will include: Greek and English Language classes – to further the appreciation of Greek culture through the study of language and to assist new immigrants; a museum-quality gallery space to present exhibitions both locally curated and traveling; additional classes as determined by the public need and adherence to the HCC-SW mission, such as Greek art, history, cuisine and philosophy; provide a community forum for the use of and collaboration with other Greek-American organizations
The Hellenic Cultural Center of the Southwest (HCC-SW) was established as a 501 (c) 3 in 2006. First organized as the Phil-Hellenic Cultural Association of Houston in 2005, the organization amended its charter and then adopted it, changing its name to HCC-SW. The impetus began within AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association) Chapter #29, when an exploratory committee was formed to consider the feasibility of establishing a physical Hellenic Cultural Center in the City of Houston. Over the course of six months the group met frequently and visited other cultural centers in the city to evaluate their programming and operations. They determined that a Hellenic Cultural Center was needed in this region and that to establish such a center it would require the combined efforts of all the Greek-American organizations willing to participate.
Representatives of the other Greek-American organizations in the region were invited to meet with the AHEPA committee and to join the HCC-SW Steering and Organizing Committees. Representatives from the following agreed to participate:
- The Consulate of Greece in Houston, Texas
- Alexander The Great Chapter #29, Order of AHEPA
- Arcadians of Texas
- Cretans of Houston
- Daughters of Penelope Achaia Chapter 54
- Hellenic Enosis
- Hellenic Professional Society of Texas
- Hellenic Soccer Club
- Macedonian Association of Greater Houston
- Pan Cyprian Association of Texas, Inc.
This combined group developed and adopted the constitution of the HCC-SW and through its various committees established the Mission and Purposes of the organization and adopted a Business Plan.
Seed money for the creation of the HCC-SW and to cover initial operating and programming expenses was received from generous individual donations, membership dues and contributions from the following; Alexander the Great Chapter #29, Order of AHEPA; AHEPA #29 Educational Foundation; and membership fees from Participating Organizations (Renewable annually).
The HCC-SW Board of Directors has established a Building Endowment Fund. A campaign to solicit pledges for this fund is spearheaded by The Facility Acquisition Committee (FAC). The FAC is currently searching for a location for a future home. The HCC-SW will also research and make grant proposals to varied and new sources for funding, including individuals, corporations, private foundations, and government institutions for both programming and the Building Endowment fund.
A Secular Organization
Although the participating organizational groups consist predominantly of people of Orthodox Christian faith, HCC-SW emphasizes that it is a secular organization. One does not need be affiliated with any particular faith to become a member or to benefit from HCC-SW programs.
Relationship to Greek-American Organizations
The HCC-SW seeks a symbiotic relationship with other Greek-American organizations and was created to support, encourage and collaborate with them to accomplish together what each cannot do separately. It is a goal of the HCC-SW to offer a facility that may be used by the other organizations. Not only is this an opportunity for collaboration to help serve those organizations, but also attracts wider audiences to be able to reach a greater public through combined educational and cultural activities.