Young Artist Residency is a new programme of Open Arts Foundation in collaboration with Sarieva / Gallery, Plovdiv, providing practical support for the development of young artists.
The programme combines artistic, research and educational activities in an innovative way. The project is implemented with the financial support of the National Culture Fund. Young Artist Residency is realized partially in Plovdiv, in the area of Open Arts Foundation, Sarieva / Gallery, artnewscafe, and partially online.


Young Artist Residency is a program of Open Arts Foundation in collaboration with Sarieva / Gallery, Plovdiv which gives practical, financial and organizational support to an artist selected through an open call to work in a new comfortable environment, to create and present works and projects, to collaborate with experts in the field. The residency combines artistic, research and educational activities in an innovative way. The artist works in an established art institution and in the creative environment of an always developing art city like Plovdiv. Melania Toma (b. 1996) grew up in Italy and is currently living and working in London. She is the third resident of Young Artist Residency.

Melania Toma was born in Italy and lives and works in England.  After completing her BA in Art History and Curatorial Studies at Ca'Foscari University in Venice, she moved to London. In 2021 she graduated from Chelsea College with an MA in Fine Art. Her exhibition history includes exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, London and projects including "Nocturnal Creatures " with the Whitechapel Gallery, London. In October she will participate in the 17th Triennial of Tapestry in Lodz, Poland.

Melania is a multidisciplinary artist whose work focuses on textiles and weaving. At the core of her work, the artist-in-residence explores the subjective and intersubjective 'we', carrying within it age-old traditions, customs and ancestral memory. She goes back to the most ancient roots of man and communities, tied to rituals and superstitions. Collecting, selecting and reassembling found objects, organic and inorganic matter, are the operative tools in Toma's work. 

During her residency in Bulgaria, from October 4 to October 29, Melania Toma will transform the Sarieva / Gallery into her studio, open to visitors and passers, by presenting an exhibition in progress that will culminate on October 28 with the presentation of a final exhibition project and video documentation. The artist will explore traditional Bulgarian and Balkan practices and their distinctive visual language. In addition, she will visit Bulgarian towns and villages tied to carpet making and ceramics and learn about textile techniques used at the National Academy of Art.


The aim of Young Artist Residency is to discover young artists, support and guide them by a mentor or mentors in the overall process of creating, presenting, documenting and showing their works, projects and ideas to an audience or collectors. A new and comfortable environment to be created for artists to work in. Collaboration and cooperation with experts in the field to be enabled.An atypical shared experiential environment between author-audience-gallery-curators to be created. A different institutional model to be examined and tested.
The project continues, builds on and develops long-standing activities and interests in the areas of support for young artists, residency programmes, audience development, introducing innovative models of Open Arts Foundation and Sarieva / Gallery.


The project was realized with the financial support of National Culture Fund.