Our annual program includes projects and events organized in the following three programs: Night of Museums and Galleries, City & Culture, and the Contemporary Art Educational Program.

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The program NIGHT OF MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES (since 2005) is a program created to support and develop the cultural map of Plovdiv, the cultural institutions of the city and the access to culture. The program also covers the practical organization, programming, coordination, advertising, special art projects for the annual Night / Plovdiv festival. Realized editions: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The first Bulgarian event of its kind, the Night of Museums and Galleries festival was first organized in 2005 by the founders of the Sariev Gallery Vesselina and Katrin Sarievi. In 2007, the Sarievs founded the Open Arts Foundation which went on to organize the festival’s subsequent editions. The Night of Museums and Galleries was later renamed to Night/Plovdiv. Like similar events in Western and Central Europe, Night/Plovdiv provides opportunities for public encounters with artists, art and culture in non-traditional evening and late night hours. With an annual program of more than 100 events and an audience between 40 000 and 50 000, the festival continues to seek new challenges and to expand its scope. A “culture at large” event, Night/Plovdiv works with state, regional, private and non-governmental organizations who vary significantly in their organizational models and level of public recognition. In 2012, the Open Arts Foundation created the Museums Fund, later renamed to the Special Projects Fund, which seeks to support organizations and artists by co-funding their festival projects. Night/Plovdiv has worked with some of Bulgaria’s most recognized contemporary artists and curators, as well as with many of the most active international cultural institutions represented in the country. With their help over the years Open Arts Foundation  organized,  produced or co-produced special artistic projects at Night, some of them: Steve H. Barovsky (USA) with its horror novel “The Seven Hills of Plovdiv”; the project Creation of Museum of Contemporary Art in Bulgaria by Ivan Moudov; the installation Lighthouse by Vadim Fishkin, curator Iara Boubnova; East Art Map by the Slovenian art collective IRWIN, selected by Iara Boubnova; PLOVEDIV – project for public space by Milen Gelishev and Simeon Todorov;  festival “City and public spaces” curated by Vera Mlechevska entitled “Rituals of the Habitual“; special jubilee program “The Dark Side of the Night” curated by Art Affairs and Documents Foundation; Curatorial program of Night/Plovdiv, 2015 and many others. In 2017 during the festival NIGHT/Plovdiv, Open Arts Foundation celebrated its 10 anniversary withe the special exhibition “10 years Open Arts:HERE EVERYWHERE”, curated by Vladiya Mihaylova.

More information is available on the festival’s websiteFacebookTweeterFlickrInstagramYoutube profiles.


CITY AND CULTURE is a program of the Open Arts Foundation that examines and works with our surrounding urban environment – its history, architecture, specificity, problems and potential to be part of cultural development and awareness.

Our first project in this program was the Otets Paisiy St. Festival (2010-2013), which we initially started under the motto “Parallel urban culture”, with program segments in history, ethnic studies and art. It took its inspiration from Otets Paisiy St., which runs parallel to Plovdiv’s main pedestrian street and where both the OAF offices and the SARIEV Contemporary Gallery are located. Focusing on the past and present of previously unstudied and little known locations, the project has had a total of four editions: Parallel Urban Culture (2010), Parallel Urban Culture / Overlapping (2011), Text (2012) and Behavior (2013). The Otets Paisiy St. Festival aims at activating, producing and showcasing contemporary urban culture through a program of open-air music events, public space projects, screenings, workshops, actions, performances, informal events, culinary art, lectures, discussions and readings. More information is available on the festival’s website and  Facebook page.


Project 0 (2010-2014) came out of Project 01 by the artists Svetoslav Michev and Kiril Kuzmanov and the curator Vladiya Mihaylova, which was shown within the framework of the Background: Young Artists 2010 Program of the Sariev Gallery. Constructing a double mirror wall that ran perpendicularly to Zlatarska St. in Plovdiv’s central Kapana district, Project 0 drew public attention to the need for revitalization of the city’s environment and a reconsideration of less conspicuous locations of great promise and potential. In the words of its author, Kiril Kuzmanov, the project “aimed at re-activating the public’s imagination for the location through the examination of urban space and a variety of lifestyle patterns and stereotypes, and their influence on the visibility or invisibility of the district”. The project was implemented in 2014. More information is available on the OAF’s website and the project’s blog.


In 2011, the Open Arts Foundationwas part of the initiative to save and regenerate the derelict Kosmos Cinema in central Plovdiv as a contemporary center for culture and the arts. OAF’s executive director Vesselina Sarieva joined the public committee for the preservation of the cinema from imminent demolition, while the OAF hosted a series of events drawing public attention to its fate. The case raised a number of important and previously neglected issues related to the preservation and potential of valuable period buildings across the city, and served as an illustration of the role and strength of civic engagement in urban planners’ decision making process. More information about the Kosmos Cinema case is available here.

In 2012, we started the City Arbor discussion series, a joint initiative of the Open Arts Foundation and the аrtnewscafé developed in collaboration with Studio 8 ½. The series aims at creating an environment conducive to knowledge accumulation, debate, city mapping and the activation of new ideas for Plovdiv’s development as an urban center. The following topics were discussed in 2012: Communist-Era Architecture, Tobacco Warehouses, Industrial Buildings, Bauhaus Architecture, Public Spaces, Suburbs and Outlying Areas (Meeting Points and Underground Culture), the Kapana District, and Utopian Plovdiv. Four additional topics were discussed and researched in 2015: the Hadji Hassan Mahalah, the Maritsa River: Ways of Inhabiting (Karshiyaka, Marasha, Stolipinovo), Social Life in the Panel Blocks (Trakiya Residential District) and Plovdiv’s Hills as Forms of Social Life. A number of researchers and professionals have contributed key-note presentations at the discussions. More information about the 2012 series can be found here; more information about the 2015 series is available here.


The Alternative Map of Plovdiv (2013) is a tourist guide with little known sights and locations that are usually absent from mainstream tourist guides of Plovdiv. Created in collaboration with Studio 8 ½, the Alternative Map offers a number of theme-based itineraries derived from the City Arbor discussions organized by the Open Arts Foundation in 2012, covering Plovdiv’s communist-era architecture, tobacco warehouses, Bauhaus architecture, the Kapana district, a selection of little-known religious sights and Otets Paisiy St. The project aims at creating a wider awareness of the city and provoking curiosity about its less-known and often neglected architectural and cultural treasures. A revised edition of the Alternative Map of Plovdiv, with new topics suggested in the City Arbor discussions of 2015 was released ot the projects’ website in 2017. More information is available on: website и Facebook page.


Debate/Lotos is an initiative from 2015, in which Open Arts Foundation seeks to encourage the development of the discussion environment in the city. The project is part of the “Bulgarian Network for Civil Dialogue”, an initiative of the Red House Center for Culture and Debate. It aims is to create a national Debate Network that brings together organizations working for the develop an active civic environment by organizing public, open debates and discussions on socially relevant topics. Find out more about the topics and guests of the debates HERE.


FLUCA: Austrian Cultural Pavilion is an innovative project for mobile cultural stage created by cargo container and transformed into an art installation. The project was launched in 2016 in partnership with the Austrian Embassy in Sofia, BKA / Austrian Federal Chancellery, Plovdiv Municipality, FLUC (Vienna) and artnewscafé with the idea of ​​the program to evolve and expand over the years, till its culmination in 2019 when Plovdiv will be European capital of culture. Inspiration comes from FLUC – a space for urban planning, contemporary music, art and performance in Vienna with a long tradition and unquestionable reputation internationally. The container in Plovdiv is located on Otets Paisiy Str. – very close to the Roman Odeon, the Catholic Church, the Big Basilica and the Forum of Ancient Plovdiv. At the same time FLUCA is arifgt next to gallery Sariev Contemporary, artnewscafe and the office of Open Arts Foundation. Thus the FLUCA project continues the effort and experience of Open Arts for revitalizing the street creating an integrated complex and a “cultural oasis” of institutions oriented towards forms of visual and performative arts, architecture, music, design and more. The pavilion presents diverse cultural content – concerts, video screenings, performances, exhibitions, open discussions, conferences, presentations etc. More about FLUCA here.


The OAF’s EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM has a focus on contemporary art and includes the following projects:

artnewscafé bulletin – a monthly publication with fresh news from the Bulgarian art world and beyond, assembled by the visual arts editor of the reputable Kultura Weekly Svetla Petkova since 2008 and from the young art historiyan Dessislava Mileva from 2017.  Since 2015, the bulletin has also featured art criticism and a rubric of interviews with art history interns working under editors’ supervision. The artnewscafé bulletin is freely available as a mobile app for iOS and Android, in the form of a monthly newsletter, and on its Facebook page. More information can be found on its website.


The project “Creation of a Museum for Contemporary Art” by Ivan Mudov was realized in 2010 at the invitation of Veselina Sarieva within the framework of the Night of Museums and Galleries Plovdiv 2010. The project is a kind of continuation of the 2005 MUSIS Action, following the important one for Open Arts’ topic about the need of development of the the contemporary art environment in the country and the lack of an adequate museum or institution to work in this direction. “Creating a Museum for Contemporary Art” is an initiative supported by Open Arts Foundation and the America for Bulgaria Foundation. With the funds received, the artist Ivan Mudov initiated a legal process for the legalization of the first of its kind museum in Bulgaria. In the exhibition presented in the framework of NIGHT, 2010 were exhibited all the documents collected so far, required for the legalization of the museum, there is also a video with the lawyer Radoslav Parushev, and a conversation with Ivan Mudov was organized. See more about the project HERE.


A key component of our Educational Program is the Introduction to Contemporary Art educational course, which we’ve offered freely since 2011. Organized jointly with the SARIEV Contemporary Gallery, it has been developed in collaboration with the curators Svetlana Kuyumdjieva, Vera Mlechevska and Vessela Nozharova. Its program includes theme-based lecture series and workshops delivered by leading Bulgarian and international artists, critics and curators. It has been held annually in Sofia since 2011, and in Plovdiv in 2015 and 2016. More information is available on the OAF’s website and the project’s Facebook page. Lectures from previous editions can be viewed on YouTube.


Another part of our Educational Program is the Collectors’ Forum, which we organize jointly with the SARIEV Contemporary Gallery. It aims at presenting established private and corporate collectors’ practices, while encouraging young collectors to start and maintain their own contemporary art collection through deepening their art sector awareness and networking. The Collectors’ Forum’s first edition was held in September 2011 within the framework of the VIP Program of the Plovdiv Night of Museums and Galleries, in the form of a moderated presentation of several private and corporate collectors’ practices. It was later modified and integrated in our Introduction to Contemporary Art Educational Course as a lecture by a leading Bulgarian or international collector.


The Focus:Bulgaria project was a high-profile survey of Bulgarian contemporary art, the first one of its kind, at a major international art fair, the viennacontemporary 2015. Its program included a theme-based exhibition curated by Iara Boubnova and Vessela Nozharova; panel discussions and short conversations moderated by Dessislava Dimova; (art) history highlights illuminating the Bulgarian context; a special publication developed by Boris Kostadinov; and a number of fringe events. More information is available on OAF’s website.


In 2016, Katrin and Vesselina turned to artist Luchezar Boyadjiev for the preparation of Walk & Talk with Luchezar Boyadjiev” in Sofia, which offered a new approach for active involvement of the audience and for connecting art and public space and putting them in a broader context.  More info here.


The “Introduction to Contemporary Art” newspaper column in Capital Light in 2016 follows SARIEV Contemporary  and the Open Arts Foundation’s overall educational curriculum. In it, on the pages of Capital LIGHT, the audience get acquainted with texts by Bulgarian art critics and curators, for some of the latest trends in the art world, the leading art cities, the most interesting events, the role of collecting and the most influential curators, artists etc. See more about HERE.


Open Arts Foundation is co-publisher of the book Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art (1982– 2015) by Vessela Nozharovawhich was published in 2018 with Janet 45 Publishing. Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art (1982– 2015) is the first comprehensive history of Bulgarian art from the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. It is based on a cycle of lectures delivered in Plovdiv and Sofia by the author, within the frames of the Introduction to Contemporary Art educational platform of the Open Arts Foundation and Sariev Contemporary Gallery. The book aims to trace and present the history and specifics of Bulgarian contemporary art with its most important participants, artists, institutions and galleries. The book offers an all-round overview of the art scene in Bulgaria in a clear and accessible way. The book is published in Bulgarian and English. More about the book here


In 2018, Open Arts Foundation supports the retrospective exhibition by Luchezar Boyadjiev, “SIC TRANSIT MEDIA MUNDI (The present is too short and fairly narrow)”. In the exhibition, along with the artist’s famous works, there are the 4 videos from the series “Walk and Talk with Luchezar Boyadzhiev” part of the Open Arts Educational Platform – Introduction to Contemporary Art. See more about the show HERE.


Part of the educational program is also the project “Open Art Files: Topics, People, Spaces, Files in Bulgarian Contemporary Art” – a series of two-year activities in 2018 and in 2019 for the building of, a database of Bulgarian contemporary art, as well as curatorial visits, presentations and exhibitions introducing the project. “Open Arts Files” is a project of Open Arts Foundation, in collaboration with SARIEV Contemporary Gallery, that seeks to popularize Bulgarian contemporary art in Bulgaria and abroad.


From 2009 to 2012, the Open Arts Foundation co-organized a Film Program produced externally by Art Film, which included the Future Shorts, Short Circuit and The Flowers of the Quran film festivals.

Communication channels:

Night/Plovdiv: websiteFacebookTweeterFlickrInstagramYoutube

Otets Paisiy St. Festival: websiteFacebook

Project 0: website OAFblog of the project

Cinema Kosmos case

City Arbor: 2012 and   2015

Alternative Map of Plovdiv: Facebook and website


artnewscafe bulletin: websiteFacebook, mobile app for iOS and Android, newsletter

Project Creation of Museum of Contemporary Art in Bulgaria

Introduction to Contemporary Art: Facebookyoutube

Introduction to Contemporary Art newspaper column

Colectors’ Forum


Retrospective exhibition by Luchezar Boyadjiev