Open Arts in 2020

We hope you are well and that we find you healthy! The time has come for our traditional annual newsletter in which we address you who were with us to look with joy at what we have done this year and to whisper what lies ahead.

Today 2020 passes - a year that we experienced intensively together and individually. 2020 is now a concept not just a date. Until recently at Open Arts we were used to organizing multi-genre festivals with thousands of audiences, lectures by international lecturers for a wide audience, large exhibitions and events. We are used to being surrounded every year by large teams of interns, volunteers, supporters and friends. To be next to each other in the field. This year all this has stopped in a way that can hardly be easily restored soon and whether this is even possible. These days collecting this newsletter with my team and looking at what we did against the background of all the restrictions and news, I am surprised that there was life this year and it was real. We had meetings with you and with art. We had the opportunity to launch new initiatives and projects. And we still feel that we are next to each other with you and we can reach out to you and share, give, show and offer access to various new horizons and experiences. This of course is due to your support, joy and need for the things we do, to my wonderful team who are capable, believe, work and have not given up. It is very important due to the talent, desire and cooperation that we received from the artists and authors, the participants in our program who could not travel but despite this they realized new projects for us and for you. This year our partners also supported our efforts and believed that it made sense and we could do it. I must point out that this gratitude and satisfaction is also due to the realization that there are segments in the Open Arts program that are clearly ahead of their time and can respond to it. This gives us the strength and the feeling that we will continue to do so. Thank you for being together! In the following lines you can read what we did in 2020 and what we hope to do in 2021. And to keep the Christmas mood, we at Open Arts, with a little self-irony, pride, casualness, or just like that, took out the old photos from 2005 and shared them with you on our Instagram account and on Facebook. You can see them too. Someone can recognize themselves somewhere out there.

We wish you health and faith!

Vesselina Sarieva Director of Open Arts Foundation

Open Art Files In 2020, the project "Open Art Files: Topics, People, Spaces, Files in Bulgarian Contemporary Art” continued to expand. Initiated in 2018 by the Open Arts Foundation in cooperation with  SARIEV Gallery in order to promote Bulgarian contemporary art in the country and abroad, the project enriched its content with new thematic articles, profiles of artists, curators, spaces and festivals. Thus, over 1950 resources and 168 profiles can be viewed and 29 author's texts can be read, highlighting many new and different connections between the participants in the development of Bulgarian contemporary art. Enriching the content with new topics and resources is one of the tasks of the project for 2021. And we will tell you about the rest later in the new year. Resources from the project can also be found in the YouTube channel "Introduction to Contemporary Art" of the Open Arts Foundation, which uploads all lectures and meetings with artists and curators who participated in the exhibition "Open Art Files: Notes and Footnotes" (August 16 - September 30, 2019). You can also browse the bilingual online catalog with the same name issued for the exhibition in December 2019.

FLUCA: Austrian Cultural pavilion During its fifth season 2020 FLUCA produced and presented on its open stage exhibitions and events of young Bulgarian and Austrian artists in the period between June and October, after the end of the state of emergency in Bulgaria. Every month FLUCA presented one larger exhibition curated by the Sariev gallery. A musical programme, a series of small art events, performances and screenings, lectures and readings complemented the artistic synthesis and microclimate of Otets Paisiy Street in 2020. An element that accompanies the stage of the shiny cargo pavilion are the iconic urban furniture "Enzi" from the famous museum district of Vienna (MuseumsQuartier). For its preliminary opening in June, the stage of FLUCA - Austrian Cultural Pavilion presented a special visual project of the Plovdiv-based French artist Mitch Brezounek together with the artists Martina Vacheva and Valko Chobanov. They transformed urban furniture into an art installation, shaping the oasis of this microclimate. The project blurred the lines between illustration, street art and contemporary art to ask us "What are our plans for summer 2020?". The event presented the independent radio of Plovdiv XRaydio on the occasion of its 9th birthday.

On June 29, with the official opening, FLUCA started with the exhibition "Welcome to you Myspace" by the Austrian author Florian Lang, who continued the theme of the utopian vacation. The exhibition was a continuation of the “Incubator” series of seemingly beautiful landscapes and lifestyle scenes, which explore the drive behind the illusions we all create among ourselves.

In August, the FLUCA stage presented Tatjana Danneberg in collaboration with the LambdaLambdaLambda Gallery, Pristina. The exhibition "Comfort of Strangers" by the young Austrian artist’s exhibition invited the audience to take an active part, rather than just observe, and to lift the curtain between the imaginary world we live in and the reality that surrounds us.

The program in September continued with a large exhibition called "particular impulse  / особен импулс" of young women authors from Plovdiv curated by Valko Chobanov in collaboration with Vesselina Sarieva. The project presented the artists Iva Vacheva, Krasimira Kirova, Marina Genova, Aleksandra Laskova and Elena Savova with new works created especially for the invitation. The exhibition occupied the shiny space of FLUCA and artnewscafe.

The final exhibition project of the Austrian artist Gert Resinger "HALLO" in October marked the end of the fifth summer season of FLUCA, which the open stage for art and culture it was in constant dialogue between contemporary art and the city.

The program of the official closing on October 30 included a special premiere of the latest video "Le monde d'origine" by the topical Austrian women's collective CLUB FORTUNA (Xenia Lesniewski, Nana Mandl and Sarah Sternat), presentation of the FLUCA 2020 catalog, as well as a documentary film by Kalin Serapionov with short interviews of all artists and curators of the season - Vesselina Sarieva, Martina Vacheva, Mitch Brezounek, Valko Chobanov, Florian Lang, Tatjana Danneberg, Aleksandra Laskova, Elena Savova, Iva Vacheva, Krasimira Kirova, Marina Gessova, Gert Resinger.

FLUCA – Austrian Cultural Pavilion is a long-term project and initiative of the Open Arts Foundation (Plovdiv), the Austrian Embassy in Sofia, supported by the Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria. In 2020, it has been part of the cultural calendar of the Municipality of Plovdiv. Follow the latest developments around FLUCA-Austrian cultural pavilion on its official Facebook page.

Artnewscafe bulletin In 2020 artnewscafe bulletin - one of the longest-running projects of Open Arts Foundation - covered for the 12th consecutive year the most interesting of Bulgarian and world art.

At the beginning of each month, these are more than 40 exhibitions selected and presented by the editorial team and available to any art lover in the form of a monthly newsletter or even more practical - a free mobile application. The updated version of the application is the work of and it is available for all devices with Android or Apple. In addition to making the newsletter much more accessible, the application also has a number of new interesting and useful features, one of which is the interactive map included with each news item, allowing accurate localization of each of the exhibition spaces. Save in "favorites" all the exhibitions that interest you (even the virtual ones) and let artnewscafe newsletter guide you! And for the moments when museums and galleries cannot open their doors, the bulletin offers a selection of virtual exhibitions, online resources for reading, listening and playing to keep in touch with art. Starting in April, the selection is updated every month. In order not to miss upcoming exhibitions and projects, subscribe to the monthly newsletter and follow us at Facebook.

The app can be downloaded from here for Android and here for Apple devices.

Circle of Friends for Bulgarian Art
In September 2020 Open Arts Foundation, Plovdiv (Vesselina Sarieva) with Office for Art, Berlin (Rainald Schumacher, Nathalie Hoyos) launched an initiative to found a Circle of Friends for Bulgarian Art. The aim of the association is to create a common platform for experts and art lovers, to focus on certain topics, issues and areas in art, to provide knowledge and educational mediation, to give support for art, artists, initiatives, institutions and to network internationally. From September to December 2020, the initiative was accompanied by the exhibition series Force of Attraction curated by Nathalie Hoyos and Rainald Schumacher from Office for Art.

The exhibitions FORCE OF ATTRACTION I and FORCE OF ATTRACTION II were presented at SARIEV gallery, Plovdiv in a co-operation with Open Arts Foundation, Office for Art, Berlin and supported by IFA Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen and the Municipal Foundation Plovdiv 2019.

Looking Back to Look Forward / Open Arts Foundation / since 2007 In early December 2020, Open Arts Foundation launched a one-month online initiative Looking Back to Look Forward / Open Arts Foundation / since 2007. In a selection of photos, from 2005 until now, the history of the foundation was told and we reminded you of all events, within its three main programs - "Night of Museums and Galleries Plovdiv", "City and Culture" and "Educational Programme" (for contemporary art). In the month of resolutions and another lock down for the year, we wanted to brighten up everyday life and look back to move forward in full force in 2021, and surprise you with a new active program. You can see all the photos on our Instagram page

Open Arts in the media

In 2020, dozens of reports and interviews in television, print and online media covered the activities of "Open Arts". Among them were the video reports of BNT A circle of friends will support Bulgarian contemporary art, The exhibition catalog "Open Art Files: Notes and Footnotes", The Austrian cultural pavilion "Fluca" in Plovdiv and "particular impulse" in Fluca, reviews of the book "Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art 1982-2015" in ARTMargins, Camera Austria and Third Text. The material "Circle of Friends" will support Bulgarian contemporary art in Dnevnik. The opening of FLUCA - Austrian Cultural Pavilion was also widely covered - Vesselina Sarieva spoke about the FLUCA program in an interview with BNR - Fluca opens its stage for the 2020 season, again on BNR artists Mitch Brezunek and  Martina Vacheva told about their participation in the special visual project, within the FLUCA season 2020, in which they took part, a conversation with Valko Chobanov for the new season of FLUCA in the Litsata na grada, interview with Florian Lang in Pod Tepeto and this is only a small part of the dozens of media that covered the event.

The Open Arts Foundation and its brand new initiative "Circle of Friends for Bulgarian Art" can be found on the pages of Capital. We also got involved in the wonderful Cause art: #egoinstatakeover of Egoist - you can read about it here: Open Arts Foundation heads our social channels today, and at the end of the year from the competition for "Annual architectural awards ARCH INOVA 2020", in the category "Realizations / Public buildings", the winner was FLUCA - Austrian Cultural Pavilion, together with Atelier DUO.

Open Arts, what lies ahead?

At this time of year traditionally Open Arts has a full program and arrangements with all of our key partners about at least 15 organizations. This year however is the end of all big plans. And we accepting this situation as a creative challenge have created a program of events that although in line with anti-epidemic measures is not boring. For it we found financial support in organizations, sympathy from partners, participants and what lies ahead is to implement it in good circumstances, life and health. In 2021 "Open Arts'' should present the expansion and development of our educational module "Introduction to Contemporary Art" and all its sub projects -, artnewscafe bulletin, Collector's Forum, as well as to introduce new educational and exhibition formats. It will be held online, in Plovdiv, Sofia and internationally. The program "City and Culture" will focus on the development of the open stage for art and culture FLUCA in Plovdiv and Sofia. The Night of Museums and Galleries program unfortunately is the most dependent on anti-epidemic measures and we will wait for the time to announce it. In 2021 we have set new initiatives destinations and partners in our program for international cooperation and international support for Bulgarian contemporary art. This program started in 2015 with our large-scale project in Vienna "Focus: Bulgaria", developed in 2020 with Circle of Friends for Bulgarian Art. Our key annual partner for 2021 will be the National Culture Fund, and for individual projects we will cooperate with our traditional partners. We wish ourselves health and strength to realize what we have planned for you with love, care and desire.


The team of Open Arts Foundation prepared all these events with exceptional dedication and diligence. Of course, they would not have happened if we did not have faithful friends and partners who believe in us and our ideas.

This year we were supported by Municipality of Plovdiv, Austrian Embassy Sofia, Bundeskanzleramt Österreich / The Austrian Federal Chancellery, National Culture Fund.

We had the honor to work in partnership with Sariev Gallery, artnewscafe, Office for Art, Berlin, IFA Institute for Foreign Affairs We would like to thank the incredible professionals we have been honored to work with while preparing our projects. We thank the participants in our initiatives for the inspiration and the understanding, and of course the audience for the high appreciation of our work!

Thanks also to the collaborators of our different projects:
Reneta Georgieva
Evgeniya Dimitrova
Desislava Mileva

We wish you a wonderful 2021!

Vessi, Katrin, Boyana

Photos: Evgeniya Dimitrova, Vanesa Popova,archive Open Arts Foundation, artnewscafe bulletin - cover January 2020 - Kalin Serapionov, On and Off, 2016 in the exhibition "Artificial Light", Contemporary Space Gallery, 23 Marko Balabanov Str., Varna, December 18, 2019 - January 18, 2020