The Museum’s history begins in 1979 with the foundation of the Association under the name Macedonian Centre for Contemporary Art1 by citizens of Thessaloniki, immediately after the destructive earthquake of 1978. The donation of 47 artworks by Alexander Iolas was of key importance, with Maro Lagia, director of Zita-Mi Art Gallery, acting as an intermediary. Initially, the activity of the Association, under the presidency of Peter Kamaras and with I. Boutaris & Son S.A. as its main sponsor, included the organization of important exhibitions in various areas of Thessaloniki and finding accommodation for the Iolas Collection. The events of the Centre were initially and for many years held at the factory of Philkeram-Johnson, courtesy of its owner Giorgos Philippou. It was there that the Iolas Collection was exhibited since 1984, in order to achieve the purpose of the collector’s donation.
In 1993, the Association decided to establish the Foundation Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (Private Law Entity) under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture. Τhe PPC stand was originally provided by TIF-Helexpo for the Museum’s housing needs, within the TIF area. Later the museum acquired its own facilities, always within the TIF grounds, and in 2002 upon the completion of its building, MMCA became the first contemporary art museum in Greece.
Over the next years, thanks to major grants (European Investment Bank, Ministries of Finance and Culture, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, etc.), the Museum’s facilities expanded significantly, reaching gradually an area size of 4,450 m., which included new exhibition spaces, a library, a multi-purpose auditorium, workshops, administration areas, a gift shop, a café, and storerooms. Its collections were at the same time enriched by many artists and collectors’ donations. Today, the museum houses over 2000 artworks by Greek and foreign artists, which cover all areas of contemporary artistic expression. Solo, retrospective or large thematic exhibitions are organized under its operational framework, often in collaboration with other private or public bodies, through parallel events and educational programmes.
Xanthippe Skarpia-Heupel is the Foundation’s Chairman of the Board to date and Denys Zacharopoulos is the art director.
The merger of the MMCA with the State Museum of Contemporary Art into a single Private Law Entity was announced in 2003.
1 This name was amended to “Macedonian Centre of Contemporary Art, Architecture and Industrial Design” in 2005.