Open Call 2014




June 20-25, 2014

Water Tower Art Fest is an artist-run initiative and the biggest international contemporary art festival in Sofia, incorporating alternative spaces in a series of exhibitions held annually in June since 2006.

The festival has developed into a platform for the creative exchange of national and international artists working in all disciplines within the contemporary visual arts. It gives the opportunity to share ideas on how to change the socio-political situation via socially engaged works done specifically for the venues or with the notion of overcoming the paradigm of our age, dominated by economic structures prohibiting the default and divine right of existence.

Our temporary-protected spaces, the encompassing theme of our festival, is derived from the idea of home – or rather the lack of it. The need for rest and recuperation, and the need to communicate freely are the basis of this year’s theme. We are to “communicate”, by using several abandoned sites/buildings in the city of Sofia, with the possibility of short residencies at some of the venues.

The touring edition of the festival’s artworks is planed for late Summer/early Fall for locations throughout Bulgaria. We do this with the aim to decentralize the cultural life from the capital, Sofia, and share ideas with the wider public that live in remote, even secluded regions.

You are openly invited to our Temporary Protected Spaces with trust for the future with enthusiastic perseverance.

Our philosophy is that art can be made for and by ordinary people and that by expressing their feelings and fears and thoughts they will learn to accept and deal with themselves and others for what they really are.

  • Thus less crime
  • Thus less corruption and greed
  • Thus more appreciation of work

The venues:

Public places around the city of Sofia from June 20-25.

Note: The team of WTAF reserves the right to change venues due to unforeseen circumstances.


  • Open call launch: 25th of February, 2014
  • Deadline for proposals: 15th of April, 2014
  • Announcement of accepted proposals: 27th of April, 2014
  • Festival dates: June 20-25th, 2014

Who can apply?

Anyone, working in the field of contemporary visual arts, with no restriction on age, race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality or education!

We accept proposals on the basis of our proposed venues, being site specific, or based on our theme for the year. We also accept proposal topics for our discussion panels during the festival.

A Selection committee consisting of prominent art figures from the art world is invited to assist us in choice of artists.

NOTE: Artists are responsible for their own travel and shipping of artworks, unless otherwise arranged, under third parties relations made in advance. We are more than happy to send an official festival invitation for participation to be used toward the application for available arts funding and grants at selected artist’s countries of residence.


Please state a detailed explanation and concept of your proposed art work including:

  • concrete technical requirements and materials needed for its implementation
  • sketches(if applicable) including the artwork’s dimensions
  • or photographs
  • short CV of the artist

What you can expect from us during WTAF:

  • Extended coverage in media and official catalogue of the fest and site along with publications in different medias
  • Assistance in finding affordable accommodation – hostel or private based with discount being part of the festival
  • Recommendations and invitations for travel funding
  • Technical and other assistance during the festival, assistance in finding materials and equipment, if not exceeding certain amount, is covered by festival
  • Overall guidance and assisting in production of work by volunteers and technical team
  • Possible meeting at airport and accompanying to hotel or accommodation by team and volunteers
  • In case your artwork requires special equipment hire, please state this in your application, so further arrangements can be made
  • Great time interacting with different artists, both local and international, a chance to get valuable contacts for your professional and personal life
  • Generally meeting great people and experiencing festival’s frenzy in its full

Please distribute or repost this open call freely.

P.S. The festival is listed in the Cultural Calendar of Sofia Municipality for 2014, a mark in our favour, which we hope would support the consideration of our candidature for Sofia – Cultural Capital 2019.


Water Tower Art Fest Team
25.02.2014, Sofia

For the latest news, like our facebook page or follow us on twitter!

9 Bogatica Street, app. 12
Sofia 1421

Nia Pushkarova
Director of NGO IME and organizer/curator of Water Tower Art Fest
Member of Bulgarian Festival Association (BFA)

WTAF at Supermarket independent art fair 14–16 February

Water tower art fest is going to be present at Supermarket independent art fair between 14–16 February with its own stand showing the concept of the festival and its artists.
This is an unique opportunity for exchange of ideas, creating contacts and new possibilities in front of all of us. See you there.
More about the event here.

SUPERMARKET 2014 – Stockholm Independent Art Fair.
The fair that makes a difference.

SUPERMARKET will take you around the world in three days! The fair won the BUS Award in 2013 and is a platform for the newest, most vital and innovative international art. With over 80 exhibitors from 30 countries worldwide it is the largest international art event in Scandinavia. SUPERMARKET 2014 is the ninth fair and will be held at Kulturhuset (House of Culture) in Stockholm on the 14–16 of February.

Next year’s fair will be the only large international art fair during February in Stockholm. Georgia, Syria, Tibet and Brazil are new countries to be represented.

The SUPERMARKET programme will be full of interesting events, including the performance stage RED SPOT, the seminar series TALKS, and the networking meetings programme SUPERMARKET MEETINGS. Since 2011 SUPERMARKET is producing its own Art Magazine, distributed worldwide.

“As this is a site for artist-run galleries from all around the world, we want to highlight diversity and the unique experiences represented” says one of the Project Managers, Meggi Sandell. “It will be relevant, up-to-date and make a difference!”

WHEN AND WHERE? 14–16 February 2014 in Kulturhuset, floors 3 and 5.

Information about the theme, exhibitors, programme and sponsors will be published at


The Water Tower Art Fest calls for participants for its 2014 project Agentur Schwimmer from Berlin.

photographers artists interested people are becoming local correspondents

The Berlin based art project Agentur Schwimmer (swimmer agency) opens a temporary regional office with local correspondents from Feb.20th to March 4th in Sofia.

The local correspondents work on a multidimensional, fragmented picture of political, social, economic and administrative processes in Sofia and Bulgaria in general. The results will be presented on the Water tower art fest in June 2014 and integrated into

Agentur Schwimmer works as an artistic model. At its core it functions like a photo press agency that offers pictures taken at incidents, events and in places that are commonly considered newsworthy.
A photographic press agency is a public space which determines the ways the political is perceived.

News is what is accepted as such.

Agentur Schwimmer creates a platform for photographic perspectives dealing with the inner workings of society. It facilitates the visual understanding of processes that are relevant to the public. It offers a vision of how news events can be told outside of conventions and economic constraints. The photographer’s attitude while taking the photo plays a key role when selecting images for Agentur Schwimmer.

Introduction of Agentur Schwimmer and the local correspondents network on feb 20 th at 16h in Photographic Gallery Rubber – street Gerlovo 13, (between Shpka street and Oborishte) Sofia

Further meetings by agreement.

Sibylle Hofter, one of the project founders may coordinate and support each participant’s photo sessions according to their wishes and skills.

If desired project participants can become familiar with basic image processing and selection criteria in one-on-one or small group meetings.

the participants will work on a multi focal portrait of the inner workings of the society.

how are things organised? who are the human beings behind the news?
We go INTO the situations: we go to the party meeting of our political opponents as well as we go to manifestations against their politics. each theme we work on becomes stronger if we cover different levels.

even if we think the actors are not worthwhile to take them serious as human beings we look closely, and we look closely on their environment: who works for them? who is listening?
we work beyond schemes. although we have or develop attitude.

I myself I tend to look closely at the political or economical actors who push the world in a fatal direction. I try to visually understand what is their network like.

of course participants understand the work in different ways. as an arts project and not dependent on sales we take the freedom not to use images as tools. Our images should develop their power from inside.
Thats why technical means are not crucial. Its usually just easier to find stronger images with good equipment. The same with experience. The same with dedication.

according to the participants interests and possibilities we concentrate on actual political discourse as well as on the general organisation of society.
Me personally I´m specially interested on adminstration, staged democracy, on the classical institutions which organise a society.
My role as a foreigner is different from the role of the participants who are experts in their own society. As a language ignorant I am as deaf as my camera. I have to rely 100 % on what I am able to see. The participants approach the project from a diamentrically opposed direction: They are familiar and possibly bored or enraged on the situation. “At the end of the day” all the perspectives will be positioned in dialogues between each other.


since each participant works self-consistant, it is possible to work the 10 days exclusively on the project or to participate part-time parallel to a regular job etc.
project language is english.

we start with a public presentation of the Agentur Schwimmer agency project.
after the public left we figure out our focuses (special interests or knowledges) and structure the work:

like the agency the CITY DESK consists of the classical sections:

culture and research
sports and leisure
(sub-sections you’ll find on the website or at the end of this text)

at the first meeting we will have prepared schedules for several events or sites to be continued during the project time.
national parliament, city council. governmental press events. manifestations. political activists. contacts to marginalised or stigmatised groups of society. court cases. conferences, panels and lectures eg on environment, ressources, development, inclusion, economy. trade faires. municipal administration. political party meetings. companies. basics: education, health, pensioners, public affairs.

depending on the size of an event one or more participants will go to cover it. the variety of individual priorities will hopefully lead to a broad bandwidth of subjects.

since we – the organisers – work on a voluntary base we need – according to capacities – the participants cooperation in organising further permissions.
participants who work primarily or exclusively on the editors side (research, organisation, selection, image processing) welcome.
participants will receive Agentur Schwimmer IDs

the entire group gathers on the scheduled “editorial meetings” to watch the results, to feedback, to make a rough concept for temporary uploads to the website. and to structure the continuation.

individual meetings to work on subjects or series will be held any time by appointment and they are open for interested participants.


each author legally is the publisher of his series: s/he has to take responsibility on the content (specially if his/her uploads contain copyright- or personal rights infringement).
s/he can publish his/her works elsewhere – hopefully with a hint on the wtaf Agentur Schwimmer context.
in case of a sale via the agency the author gets 80% of the income.
the author has also the right either not to sell licenses or to publish under creative commons license. if a photographer is contracted sales may done exclusively by his contract partner.
Generally the uploaded images should stay on the website. To withdraw images the author should have severe reasons.

Deadline for applying 07 February.
Attendance is with fee of 50lv.paid in advance!
Working language is English.
Materials needed- working camera.
No previous education is needed to participate, as well as there is no restriction of age

For contacts:
facebook event


Water tower art fest is officially accepted to be present at SUPERMARKET art fair in Stockholm, February 2014. More news to follow.

Member ot

WTAF and NGO IME is now officially part of Res Artis – the biggest network of artists residencies around the world.

Video 2013

Camera: Evgeni Bogdanov, Tsvetelina Borisova
Edit: Under7floor
Music: Apparat, Georgi Ruzhev



Bulgarian Cultural Institute
21 – 28 October 2013, 19:00 h.
Working hours for period 22-28.10.2013, 10:00 – 18:30

188 Queen’s Gate
South Kensington
+44 (0) 207 591 0179

Standpoint Gallery
24th October – one day presentation
18:30 – 21:00

45 Coronet Street
London N1 6HD
+44 207 739 4921

A show dedicated to free exchange of ideas and collaborations between artists form different nations.
The idea behind this show is provoked by the last UK press prediction of mass immigration in 2014 by Bulgarians and Romanians with allowed work permit.

The artworks to be shown are of UK based artists and Bulgarian artists, all participants of the Water tower art fest – an artist run initiative.

Water tower art fest is the biggest event with its 7 years history in the development of contemporary arts in alternative spaces with socially engaged artworks from national and international artist’s participants in Bulgaria.
The UK based artists participation is the most prominent one. On that basis we have decided to extend the festival presentation in collaboration and support by them artists in London and show the positive act of communicating through the arts, beyond the limits of national and European politics of the day.

The festival has proved to be the most respectable event in the contemporary art scene in Bulgaria with its international artist’s profile. Throughout the years we have established the free way of communication between artists, institutions and audience by using abandoned buildings as a place for our exhibitions, involving artists from all around the world(last edition included – 900 artists participated so far).
Starting from a small scale initiative with mind liked people around abandoned water tower in Sofia, thus placing the right motivation and act of being socially engaged through the arts has proved to be the most successful event in the history of contemporary arts in Bulgaria. The collaborations made during the festival have extended themselves outside Europe, making an independent network for artistic exchange and communication.

Nia Pushkarova – Festival Director and curator, artist living in Sofia, Bulgaria. Graduated at Reading University – Fine arts, 1995.

Alexandra McGllynn (UK) – “He said that I am the way” voices landscape presentation
Andrey Vrabchev (BG) – object #1
Andy Broadey (UK) – “Still” 2013 a presentation at Standpoint Gallery and “Sight Seeing – Photography “2012
Anna Simeonoff (BG) – print series: “Idioms- Anatomists”
Arran Poole and Mark Summers (UK) an improvised music concert
Caitlin and Andrew Webb – Ellis (UK/Canada) – video
Claire Halpin (UK) – “Micro-aviary 1” drawing
Emil Mirazchiev (BG) – video film: “Marlene”
Galya Yotova (BG) – photography installation
Gareth Bell Jones (UK)
Herve Constant (UK) video films
Hitomi Kammai (JP/UK) – sculpture “Roses”
John O’Hare (UK) – installation
Juan DelGado (UK) photography “The Wounded Image” (2002),
Kenneth G. Hay and Seetha A – Moorland Productions (UK) – installation
Marieta Tsenova (BG)
Nia Pushkarova (BG) – title of work: Paintings series of “I am your balance” and video film: “The Expulsion of Adam and Eve”
Remi Merchant (UK) photography
Vessela Mihailova and Tiago Martins (BG &Portugal) – interactive sound installation

Article in The Bite Magazine – Autumn Winter 2013.

WTAF 2013 Travelling Exhibition

/// Vidin
21st September 2013, from 18:30 to 22:30
The Vidin Synagogue

So Far Channel :: Mara Goldwyn & Maxfield Gassmann (USA) participatory installation:
Радио сxаx
רדיו סכך

Aleks Angelov & Prodan Markov – performance Vsevolod Danger Music
Georgi Ruzhev
Dcnstrct – YvesO

Whit kind support of:
Embassy of the United States Sofia, Vidin Municipality, Shalom Organization

/// Stara Zagora – part of Razlichniat Pogled Youth Festival
22nd September 2013

More about the event: here.

Bulletin 2013

Brochure 2013

This is the programme for Water Tower Art Fest 2012, feel free to download.