March 27, 2 pm
the event can be viewed on Facebook and the YouTube channels of Open Arts Foundation

participants: Rositsa Getsova (Arosita), Vladimir Iliev (+359 gallery), Maria Vassileva (Structura), Desislava Zafirova (ONE gallery), Ellie Sotirova (KO-OP), Rossen Uzunov (Little Bird Place), Vesselina Sarieva (Sariev)

concept and host: Vesselina Sarieva (Open Arts Foundation, Sariev Gallery)

organized by: Open Arts Foundation, within its programme Introduction to Contemporary Art

Open Arts Foundation is pleased to present the first event from the spring programme of Collectors’ Forum 2021, which will take place online, on March 27, 2021.

The event will gather for the first time in one place and in a common discussion the representatives of the most active Bulgarian contemporary art galleries and the youngest art spaces. The panel discussion with Bulgarian gallerists is devoted to the challenges galleries have been experiencing before and during the pandemic. The discussion will make us aware of the situation the galleries are in, and how they adapt to the current rapidly evolving situation. It will give us examples of good practices, forecasts of the future and development strategies. The talk will be held in Bulgarian.

In 2021, in the post-pandemic situation of an art system in crisis, Collectors’ Forum is taking action to expand its traditional format on a thematic, structural and temporal level, followed by the intention to provide participants on the Bulgarian art scene with support for adaptation. As it upholds the core idea that the knowing and acceptance of the other person in the micro-community, the unification and sharing of problems and solutions is a way out of the present and into the future, Collectors’ Forum intends to create a common environment of sharing and visibility that will offer a wider view, possible coping guidelines and premises for future cooperation. In addition to this new line focused on the micro-community, Collectors’ Forum continues to implement its traditional programme by conducting international exchange and introducing international collecting practices.


Follow our website updates and social media profiles for more information and upcoming events.

Due to the anti-pandemic measures, the spring programme of Collectors’ Forum will be implemented online.

More information about the participants:

Rositsa Getsova is a visual artist. Since 2007, she has been the art director and owner of Arosita Gallery and curator of exhibitions and events. She has organised and hosted over 280 solo exhibitions in the gallery. She is also the organiser of The International Festival of Glass – Sofia (2010-2016). The festival takes place every two years in Sofia.

Arosita Gallery was founded in March 1990 in Sofia. The gallery presents a large circle of artists and gives a chance to anyone with an interesting idea to put it into practice. Furthermore, the gallery offers educational art programmes and supports various experimental art projects. In 2013, the Arosita Gallery approached the public by creating a new street space for contemporary art – Stick Place.


Vladimir Iliev is a collector, art manager, co-founder and chairman of the Association of Art Dealers (ATPI) and owner of Plus 359 Gallery.

Plus 359 Gallery was founded in 2017 in Sofia and occupies the building of the restored Water tower, built in Lozenets back in 1929. Today, this historic landmark is a space for contemporary art. The programme of the gallery is based on several permanent projects: Formatting the Absence, Point of Intersection, Radius, Ecosystem and explores a wide range of contemporary art ideas and strategies. The gallery also runs an Art Residency programme that offers contemporary visual artists the opportunity for residence and work toward creating site-specific installations for the space of the Water tower.


Maria Vassileva is an art critic, founder and owner of Structura Gallery. Maria Vassileva is one of the founders of the Institute for Contemporary Art – Sofia.  Curator of the “8 March” Group. Long-standing Curator in Chief at Sofia City Art Gallery. She initiated the BAZA Award for Contemporary Art. She also established the Young Artists Award of the Edmond Demirdjian Foundation. Maria Vassileva has curated exhibitions with national and international participants both in Bulgaria and abroad. She is the author of books and articles published in catalogues, magazines and newspapers.

Structura Gallery was founded in 2017. It is a space for exhibitions and events that present contemporary art. Structura supports the art scene through local and international projects and is committed to promoting new artistic positions, identifying art trends and evaluating individual artistic development. It publishes books and catalogues, organises talks with artists and participates in exhibitions such as Art Paris, Art Rotterdam, viennacontemporary.


Desislava Zafirova is a gallerist and curator, founder and owner of ONE gallery – Sofia. She started Triadis Gallery in the year 2000, initially as a virtual gallery for contemporary art, which in 2011 was transformed into the Yuzina Gallery. She organised and produced the project With Respect to the Moving Forces by sculptor Georgi Donov, remaining in the sculpture park of the National Art Gallery to this day. Desislava Zafirova is the organiser of multiple exhibitions and participations at international exhibitions such as: Istambul contemporary, Cosmoskow, Saatchi and Saatchi, London, Art expo. New York. She was the director of the Thrace Foundation from 2004 to 2011.

ONE gallery opened to the public in May 2015 in the atrium of Serdika offices, and in 2017 the gallery opened premises in another location in the building of the former Military printing house. Since its foundation, the gallery has its programme fully focused on contemporary art. The main objective of ONE Gallery is to present socially engaged art free of censorship. The team of the gallery provides a public platform both to well-known and young artists. The gallery participates in international art fairs, such as Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul, and COSMOSCOW, Moscow.


Ellie Sotirova is a founder of the coworking and art space KO-OP (named after Cooperative).

КО-ОP is a coworking and art space, established in 2018. Its main focus is on the contemporary artistic practices, including photography, printmaking, illustration and painting. It supports the domestic art scene by showcasing the works of local and foreign artists in Bulgaria. Independent editions, including art and photography books and zines, are made available in the space. Furthermore, the educational approach has a significant presence in the programme of KO-OP.  Often different events are hosted to accompany the exhibitions, such as discussions, workshops and gallery tours.


Rossen Uzunov is founder and owner of the Little Bird Place Gallery. A medical doctor and, until recently, a high-ranking manager for a leading international company in the pharmaceutical sector, an avid nature lover, a photography enthusiast.

Little Bird Place was founded in 2019 in Sofia as a gallery with a specific thematic focus on modern and contemporary art dedicated to nature, biological world and ecology. The place is not a conventional art space, it offers a cosy ambience close to the nature’s aesthetics, while located at the very heart of the city. The gallery cooperates with curators, creates thematically focused audio-visual products. The gallery provides an opportunity for young Bulgarian contemporary artists to commit to creative work for two weeks at the LITTLE BIRD ARTIST RESIDENCY in the village of Leshten.


Vesselina Sarieva is an author, art manager, gallerist, curator, art consultant. She is active in the fields of contemporary art, literature, urban development, art spaces. She is the co-founder, together with Katrin Sarieva, of a cluster of organisations connected in a common ecosystem: Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv since 2004, Open Arts Foundation since 2007, artnewscafe, Plovdiv – a café and community centre since 2008, and an open mobile stage for art and culture FLUCA since 2016. Some of the well-known projects initiated and developed by Sarieva are the Night of Museums and Galleries Festival (2005-2019); the educational platform Introduction to Contemporary Art (since 2011); Focus Bulgaria at viennacontemporary 2015; the web portal; artnewscafe bulletin (since 2008).

Sariev Gallery presents key Bulgarian artists of different generations and is a principal gallery to most of them. Through its programmes Re-discovery, BACKGROUND: Young Artists, Portfolio Day, the gallery discovers, rediscovers and promotes artists. Sariev creates its own satellite spaces (project space, studio), and implements such spaces in the urban environment and in collaboration with other organisation both in Bulgaria and abroad. The gallery publishes books, catalogues, multiples. It develops its own programme but invites external curators for specific exhibitions. It participates regularly in exhibitions, among which Liste, Basel, Art Cologne, Art Brussels, Artissima, Turin, viennacontemporary, Istanbul Contemporary, Art Rotterdam, Shanghai Contemporary, Art-O-Ramma, Marsilles, and more. It has consulted the establishment of several private collections, established partnerships with corporate collections in Bulgaria and abroad, and is experienced in cooperating with international museums and institutions. The gallery is part of FEAGA – Federation of European Art Galleries Association.


Partner: National Culture Fund

In 2021, the project is being implemented with the financial assistance of the Support Programme for Professional Art Organizations of National Culture Fund.

Watch the video of the discussion here