Open Arts in 2017

Alternative map of Plovdiv - new and old routes In the spring of 2017 the Open Arts team led by Katrin Sarieva presented with an exhibition and presentation the new edited version of the “Alternative map of Plovdiv”. The main emphasis in the presentation was the new routes on the map: Mahalata - Hadji Hasan Mahala, The River - Ways of Habitation (Karshiyaka, Marashha, Stolipinovo), The Social Life of the Panels (Trakia district), Tepetata as Forms of Urban Life. There were also described changes in the routes from 2013: the Communist era-heritage of Plovdiv, the Tobacco warehouses in Plovdiv, the Kapana district, the Bauhaus Under the Hills, the Religions and the Otets Paisii Street. The new locations generated great interest from the media and the active citizens. Check out more here: BNT, NOVA TV, Go Guide !, AMICA, Follow Alternative map of Plovdiv on: and on Facebook.

Introduction to Contemporary Art 2017 In 2017, "Introduction to Contemporary Art" presented two sessions of events - summer and autumn.The summer series of “First-person” lectures included three main panels: “Everything you have ever wanted to know about women in art* *but you can’t find in the textbooks” with moderator Stefka Tsaneva discussed the topic of women in art, their role and influence with lecturers Irina Genova, Maria Vassileva, Miglena Nikolchina and Rada Boukova. “Potemkin Villages, home and abroad. Conversation with French contemporary artists from The Ricard Foundation Award and curators” introduced the French contemporary art through the conversation with some of the most intriguing French artists – Bruno Serralongue, Mathieu K. Abonnenc, Stéphane Barbier-Bouvet and Marie Voignier, and curators Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva, art director of Plovdiv 2019, and Pierre Bal-Blanc, curator from the team of Documenta 2017 Athens-Kassel. Special treat was the lecture by Rainald Schumacher, curator of the collection of Deutche Telekom, part of Collector’s Forum. The autumn session “100 Years of Art of Action. The live art between the stage and the real” moderated by Vera Mlechevska, presented a little discussed, yet more up-to-date theme – the performance art. In the framework of four lectures in November, we heard the guest speakers Isabella Maidment (curator at Tate Modern), Annie Vaseva (director), Snezhanka Mihaylova (philosopher and lecturer) and Albena Mihaylova (one of the earliest performers in Bulgaria) that shed light on the history and evolution of the performance, its place outside the scene, contemporary art, and why and how this kind of art can be collected. You can watch all the lectures on the "Introduction to Contemporary Art" platform in the youtube channel of the Open Arts Foundation HERE.

FLUCA: Austrian cultural pavilion
The glittering cargo container FLUCA, presented in 2017 on its stage artistic projects from Bulgaria, Austria and abroad. The FLUCA program started in May and continued until the end of September, with the highlights for the season being Plamen Deyanoff's solo exhibition curated by Boris Kostadinov, the project “Stretching the Boundaries” with Nicole Six / Paul Petritsch and Sabine Bitter / Helmut Weber, curated by Walter Seidl and the group project “Attention! Promised Place - Contesting Common Grounds”, curated by Ursula Maria Probst. FLUCA also showed literary events with Georgi Gospodinov and Teodor Ushev (as part of the Plovdiv Reads Festival), presentations with the publisher Manol Peykov, the illustrator Romina Beneventi, the author Yana Boukova, the Austrian writer Peter Simon Altman, the Israeli poet Amir Or and others. The FLUCA screenings were part of the weekly summer program in Plovdiv, featuring a special selection of Spanish-language and German-language films provided by Cervantes Institute and Goethe Institute Bulgaria. The FLUCA scene for the second season was also a favorite place for DJ parties, informal meetings, discussions, performances and more. Follow FLUCA on: and on Facebook.

10 years Open Arts
10 years have passed since the founding of Open Arts Foundation in 2007. In this important year for the organization, we decided to celebrate our 10th anniversary with the realization of a special artistic program which shows the road, the causes and the projects of Open Arts in the last decade in our three major programs – City and Culture, Educational Platform for Contemporary Art and Night of Museums and Galleries. Vesselina and Katrin Sarievi, founders of the foundation, invited the culturologist Vladiya Mihaylova to curate the program. Vladiya’s work included a detailed overview of the organization’s archive, meetings with long-standing project participants, partners and friends of the organization. On the basis of this research, Vladiya compiled a conceptual framework for a jubilee program based on the motto HERE EVERYWHERE. Within the framework of NIGHT/Plovdiv 2017, in the presence of important guests, partners and close friends of the Foundation, the exhibition "10th Open Arts: HERE EVERYWHERE" was officially opened. Based on the archive and Vladiya's concept, the exhibition presented papers, archives, installations and interviews, works by Luchezar Boyadjiev, Voin de Voin, Pravdolub Ivanov, Kiril Kuzmanov, Svetlana Mircheva, Petko Tanchev and Dimitar Shopov. The space of the exhibition was also very significant for the work of Open Arts. The Detmag Snezhanka Shop in the center of Plovdiv, which was forgotten for more than 15 years, with the cooperation of the Municipality of Plovdiv, was refreshed and open to show through the exhibition the possibilities of the building as an exhibition gallery space. See pictures from the exhibition HERE, see also the exhibition paper HERE. Expect the special catalog dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Open Arts in the beginning of 2018.

NIGHT / Plovdiv 2017

The longest night of Plovdiv welcomed over 45-50 thousand people and managed to present to its visitors more than 140 free events in 73 locations in the city. For thirteenth consecutive year the festival offered a cultural program with numerous artistic projects, specially created or adapted for the city by Bulgarian and international artists. In addition to the Exhibition "10 years Open Arts: HERE EVERYWHERE", the highlights in the program were also: “Tales Alive” - exhibition in REM Plovdiv, result of the special crowdfunding campaign “Let's bring paintings back to the museum”, the project “Closer to the Cosmos” at the Museum of Aviation, the exhibition “Behind the doors of the UB's vault” at the RHM-Plovdiv, the student studios of AMTII, the concert “Music under the stars” of Fortissimo Fest, the VR VISA pavilion, the NIGHT’s party with Absolut, the Argirovi brothers and DJ Stephan Obermaier etc. Special attention was paid to some projects in urban spaces as Eva Ventova's “Abandoned” sculpture, Feliah Baruch's “Black Box”, Circus de la Lyulin's performances and, above all, the sculpture “Love Dive (Diet Pelican Froth)” by Mike Bouchet's common project “Private Idano” presented at the SARIEV Contemporary Gallery and the Pelican Fountain in the city center. Very varied was the program “Open Arts” curated by Vladiya Mihaylova, which presented projects by artists from Bulgaria, Finland, France, Spain, Austria, USA, Israel and South Korea. From the augmented reality project “AR2.0_Alphaloop” by the French artist Adelin Schwajzer, through Isaac Cordall's small cement figures scattered throughout Plovdiv and the world premiere of the audio visual performance SEED's by the American Mary Frank, to the “Proxima Utopia” by the  Finnish duo Selim, the Austrian and Israeli artists on the FLUCA stage, the lecture “Sacred Art and the Present-day” and Vox Populi’s, Atom Theater’s and South Korean guests performances,... the whole program gave a very different look to the Plovdivian locations, new ideas about spaces and unexpected point of view for art. See more about NIGHT/Plovdiv 2017 through the documentary movie about the festival HERE, photos from the events HERE or a short story HERE. Follow the NIGHT at: www.night.bgFacebook and Instagram

Artnewscafe bulletin
For the ninth consecutive year, the artnewscafe bulletin - one of the oldest projects of Open Arts - informed its readers every month about the most interesting news in the world of art in Bulgaria and around the world. In the summer of 2017 to the long-time editor Svetla Petkova joined the young art historian Dessislava Mileva. Both of them pick the news in the bulletin and work with the editorial intern team on the publications. In 2017, the authors of the artnewscafe bulletin reviewed and commented on some of the most important projects and exhibitions by contemporary Bulgarian artists, including Æther, the new exhibition space of Voin de Voin, Art Start, young artists to follow in 2017Basic and the Beast by Vikenti Komitski, People, Years, Life by Dimitar Shopov at SARIEV Contemporary, Placebo - National Autumn Exhibitions, Boryana Ventsislavova's We Are Part of a Collection, Plamen Deyanoff's Bronze House Project the latest exhibition by Dr. Gatev In anticipation of the unit. In a series of articles, realized with the support of Goethe Institute Bulgaria, Svetla Petkova also reflected significant international exhibitions such as documenta 14 and Skulptur Projekte Münster (the articles can also be read in German on the website of the institute). For 2017, artnewscafe bulletin released more than 45 articles, interviews and analyzes devoted to contemporary Bulgarian and international art. Follow the bulletin on:, Facebook, subscribe for the monthly newsletter HERE.

Open Arts shares know-how
The Open Arts team, led by Vessi Sarieva, director and co-founder of the foundation, participated in events in 2017 in which they shared their experience. In the first months of 2017, the Open Arts team had the pleasure of welcoming several groups of students from UVSQ - the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and the Alma Mater Diplomatische Akademie Wien, to share experience, exchange ideas and discuss issues in the field of cultural management. In August Veselina Sarieva was invited to make a presentation at the conference EDITogether Varna: Digital meets Art. The event aimed to show good examples of doing business in the creative industries and to discuss the place of technology in art. Vesselina shared with the audience "A few simple rules of cultural management", based on her personal experience in the field for more than 10 years. See more HERE. In September, the head coordinator of NIGHT/Plovdiv, Vasilena Pancharova, was part of the first public event under the project "Innovative Festivals for People, Economics and Smart Cities", organized by, with the theme "Evaluation of Different Effects of the Festival - Necessary Instrument or a waste of time". Vasilena shared the experience of NIGHT/Plovdiv in the study of the economic effect of the festival on the local economy, realized in 2015 together with Industry Watch Group, Bauersaches Foundation and Paisii Hilendarski University. See more HERE.

Open Arts part of networks
The year started motivating with a meeting organized by the America for Bulgaria Foundation under the motto “American Optimism Meets Bulgarian Potential”. Within one day, the Open Arts team met with representatives of organizations from all spheres of public life, exchanging ideas and contacts. At the end of January, in Paris, the first workshop of the IN SITU Network was held, with Open Arts being member from the autumn of 2016. Focus in two-day work meeting in January was the communication of cultural events and various ways of promoting the cultural content and activities of IN SITU. Vasilena Pancharova, project coordinator in Open Arts since 2014, participated in the meeting on behalf of the Foundation. In May, Vladiya Mihaylova, curator of the special anniversary program "HERE EVERYWHERE", was on a working visit on behalf of Open Arts again organized by IN SITU in Hull, England. The purpose of the meeting was to gather cultural operators to get acquainted with artistic projects and artists on the network and to establish easier contact for their choice of cultural content. In June, the traditional “Circle for the children” meeting, organized by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, was held in Gabrovo. Vasilena Pancharova was representative of Open Arts presenting the children's program of NIGHT/Plovdiv. The meeting was attended by representatives of various cultural organizations from all over the country who have special programs for children. We are glad that with some of them we had the pleasure to work in this year's edition of the festival.

Open Arts what's next?

From 2018 we start a partnership with the MF "Plovdiv 2019" on two very important projects for us - FLUCA and CARGO. FLUCA: Austrian cultural pavilion, which we created together with the Austrian Embassy Sofia in 2016, will land in Sofia in 2018 to present a rich cultural program in several different places in the city! As part of our "Introduction to Contemporary Art" program, CARGO will be a new online platform for popularizing Bulgarian contemporary art and will offer meetings with experts, lectures, publications and educational events in the tradition of our long-standing program to bring us closer to the world of contemporary art. Expect the longest NIGHT of Plovdiv to return on 14 and 15 September for the fourteenth consecutive edition. Do not miss the monthly art guide - artnewscafe bulletin to be always updated with contemporary art in 2018. And find some time to discover and rediscover the city with the Alternative map of Plovdiv. Follow us to find out more soon!


All these events, the Open Arts Foundation's team prepared with exceptional dedication. Of course, all would not have happened if we did not have faithful friends and partners who believed in us and our ideas. For another year, we had the honor to work with the America for Bulgaria Foundation, which has been giving us the strength to follow our dreams of developing the cultural scene in the country. We have great support and cooperation with the Municipality of Plovdiv and the MF "Plovdiv 2019", who appreciate our initiatives and their contribution to the city. Our projects were recognized and supported by the Culture Program of the Sofia MunicipalityThe National Culture Fund and the Ministry of Culture.

We are particularly grateful for the partnership of the Austrian Embassy in Sofia for the second season of FLUCA, as well as the Department of Art and Culture of the Federal Chancellery of Austria. We worked in partnership also with the Embassies of Finland, USA and Israel, the French Cultural InstituteCervantes InstituteOE ShalomIN SITU, Arts Council Korea and Management team Culture & U, who supported some of the biggest projects in the NIGHT’s 2017 program. Our partners were also Goethe Institute BulgariaPernо Ricard Bulgaria, Ricard Foundation, National Academy of Arts, Academy GallerySofia City Art Gallery. For a second consecutive year in NIGHT/Plovdiv we worked with United Bulgarian Bank and Visa, with Mentor MateAbsolut and EVN Bulgaria, we also welcomed Holiday Inn and Imperial Hotel & Spa.

Our events were popularized from a wide range of media partners: BNTBulgaria On Air, CapitalDnevnikVij!GoGuideDarikKatra FMAMICA, BG Radio,, and Krivicki & sie.

We thank the incredible professionals we have been honored to work with when preparing our projects. We thank our volunteers and interns, who have been tirelessly assisting and giving us energy. We thank the participants in our initiatives for the inspiration and understanding and, of course, the audience for the high appreciation of our work!