Founding Members & Staff


Varvara Liakounakou, Co-Founder

Varvara Liakounakou was born in Athens, Greece. She received her diploma in Fine Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. Her paintings are based on her drawings, which begin as doodlings, inspired by human nature. To create atmosphere and expression around her abstraction of the figure, the drawings build upon themselves with layers and layers of line, and she uses many transparent layers of oil colors and oil pastels to translate a similar drawn quality to painting. She has taught painting and drawing for the past five years in Athens, Greece at a private institute. Varvara has exhibited at the Medusa Gallery in Athens, the Mulier Mulier Gallery in Belgium and the Galleria De'Marchi in Bologna, Italy. 

Varvara will be available as a point of contact in Athens, concerning all things related to the ASR studios, housing, artistic community and life in Athens. 


Jenny Carolin, Co-Founder

Jenny Carolin received her Masters in Fine Arts with a concentration in Painting from Syracuse University, and her Bachelors in Fine Arts from the Columbus College of Art and Design. The desire to find movement and expression in two dimensional work led her to expand her practice to include performance, video and installation. She has taught Figure Drawing, Foundation Drawing and Drawing and Painting for Non-Art Majors for the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. Currently she serves as the director of the community studio space, classroom and gallery Shoestring Studio, in Brooklyn, New York, where she also instructs classes and pursues her studio practice. 

Jenny will be available via email, or personally from her studio in New York, to answer any questions concerning the application process as well as questions of logistics, concerns and comments regarding the residency. 


Retos Kotsilinis, Co-Founder

Retos Kotsilinis has studied Production Engineering and Management at Technical University of Crete, as well as Business Administration (MBA) in Athens University of Economics and Business. He owns a Technical company based in Athens, undertaking specialized projects in traffic technology.
He has been active, in the past, as a producer in theater, through his company Träumen and has also taken part in several photography group exhibitions as an amateur photographer. Occasionally he deejays in bars and clubs in Athens.

Retos is the business and financial director, he is also available to provide recommendations on food, drink and entertainment in Athens. 


Elizabeth Plessa, Art Historian and Curator

Elizabeth Plessa received a BA in Visual and Performed Arts from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, and a MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. She has served as Curator at the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation - Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens and Andros. She has also curated a significant number of solo and group exhibitions for major Greek museums, art foundations and galleries, including the Benaki Museum, Athens Concert Hall, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, The Sotiris Felios Collection, Theocharakis Foundation, Hellenic-American Union, Nees Morfes Gallery, Medusa Art Gallery, Skoufa Gallery et al. 

Elizabeth Plessa will be conducting regular studio visits of the ASR artists-in-residence and following the development of their artistic practice while in Athens. 


Julianna Tsamantanis, ASR Studio Manager

Julianna was born in Athens, Greece. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Northeastern University in Boston. Connecting her passion with a purpose, she is working in the marketing world, writing about things that matter to her. She was on the Greek National diving team for ten years and she is currently coaching young children.

Julianna is the studio manager. She is available to answer any questions about the logistics and concerns regarding the residency and life in Athens. She is also the social media promoter for Athena Standards Residency.