In 1997 the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete embarked on the design of a Sculpture Park for children under the walls of theVenetianCastle (Fortezza). The first funds for the development of the site on the part of the Ministry of Culture were provided to the City ofRethymnon in 1996.
The design of the site and the project was undertaken by Professor Tassos Biris, who decided on minimal interventions to the natural landscape such as stone benches, a small theatre and wooden paths because he believed in the whole venture as a groundbreaking idea for our country which would serve as a pilot project.
At the same time the most appropriate Greek sculptors proceeded to develop scale models of their ideas for artworks which would serve as toys.
The project was based on the idea of promoting children's relationship with art through play and expression, and of approaching actual materials and nature through entertainment. Children could get first-hand experience of history, observing the materials of the Venetian edifice and the truth of nature. As a pilot project for the entire country, the artistic playground of Rethymnon starts from the principle of encouraging children to play with artworks.
The toys are all developed as unique pieces by distinguished Greek artists who are specialised in children, and they move away from the "do not touch" principle of museums to establish a relationship of liberation and love for art among the children.
It is a known fact that the absence of aesthetic education frequently leads to adults with an aversion towards museums and art. The sculpture park is addressed to all ages from 2-year-olds to teenagers.
Although the design and development of the site has been completed, the Sculpture Park – Art Play for children remains inactive because the sculptures have yet to be installed.