Water Tower Art Fest
CONTEXT OF FESTIVAL – Since 2006 we initiative the Water Tower Art Fest in Sofia. This festival is an international art event with performances, installations, presentations and workshops that takes place every year in different spaces throughout the city of Sofia and beyond in Bulgaria. From very local grass roots based initiative, we have proved throughout the years to be the most important international contemporary art festival in Bulgaria, using abandoned buildings and art in public spaces. The purpose of the project is to attract public attention to our immediate urban environment filled with abandoned spaces and tackle issues of tolerance, democracy and environment via contemporary art using socially engaged artworks. By using the abandoned buildings we tackle issues of importance to the local community, integrate marginal groups and different generations in communication through the arts.
WTAF is an artist run initiative started only with a few people in Sofia encompassing ideas of art, creativity, urban renewal and alternative art spaces. Gradually it became an international event gathering artists from around the world that came together as independent entities representing their individual style and search for mutual understanding and cosmopolitanism in the face of widely spread apathy and unwillingness to cooperate.
The motivation has been a major point to all of us – to communicate freely on the basis of artistic expression within spaces that allow our imagination to run wild and at the same time reflect upon history and architecture, social and other issues as well as urban habitat– to find our own place within a particular city structure.
The places inspired us and gave direction to the format, which the festival took shape and form – through communication. We felt that by doing this we have the will power to change our own surrounding where we live, how we communicate with space and transcend the past and future in a way possible only through art with direct response to the social environment, transcribing histories, memories, textures and functions into art. It is an an injection of international creative thinking of alternative spaces in Eastern Europe.
“We believe that art has a function in the society and we delegate that function back to it.”
Water Tower Art Fest honored with EFFE Label 2015-2016
EFFE is proud to announce the results of Europe’s finest festivals honored with the EFFE Label 2015-2016. Following a process of intense evaluation from national experts to an international jury, 761 festivals from 31 countries now belong to the first generation of EFFE Label recipients – Water Tower Art Fest is one of them!
Proud owner of EFFE label for quality festival certificate! — with Polina Pankova, Невена Цвят,Denitsa Toneva, Efro Sina, Georgi Kambourov, Neda Ionkova, Svetlana Alexandrova and Oli Gots.
POSITION OF NGO IME REGARDING THE STATUE OF THE WATER TOWER IN SOFIA – THE SYMBOL OF OUR INITIATIVE
Chronology of Water tower art fest: Festival of contemporary arts and culture in alternative spaces in Sofia 2006 – 2015
Mission: Artistic activities inducing better quality urban living, artist run initiative offering a platform for exchange for national and international artists working in all sphere of contemporary arts, trough socially engaged artworks in alternative spaces.
2006 – First art/citizen initiative involving cleaning of space around the water tower garden and party – making it a symbol of the idea for socially engaged arts, discovering spaces around town and making them available for citizens and artists to explore.
2007 – Poduene project “Chisto”- encompassing ideas of clean communication
2008 – “Urban Guardian Angels”
2009 – Water tower art fest– involving international artists for first time
2010 – Water tower art fest – “Clairvoyance”
2011 – Water tower art fest
2012 – Water tower art fest – “Follows the white rabbit” – fest goes outside Sofia for first time at Vidin synagogue and Troyan art Tryavna art colleges
2013 – Water tower art fest – “Temporary protected spaces” – tower closed for us – top floors by Municipality because of safety reasons – occupying only first platform. Fest goes to Vidin and Stara Zagora for traveling exhibition. For the first time there is a restriction order to enter the towerq,we are allowed only on the first 1st platform/floor due to safety reasons according to Region of Lozents Mayor, Sofia Manucipality.
2014 – Water tower art fest – “Temporary protected spaces” edition 2 – tower completely closed by Municipality because of safety reasons. Fest goes to Dimitrovgrad and Stara Zagora and Plovdiv with traveling exhibition. The tower is completely closed and restriction has been put upon us to enter it – due to safety reasons accoring to Region of Lozenets, Sofia Manuciplaity
2014 – Water tower art fest edition in London, UK – “The Bulgarians are coming”
2015 – Water tower art fest – “Towns in need of love” – fest moves outside city to Pernik, tower given to unfamiliar art gallery after a secret bid for tender under Municipality procedure involving reconstruction offer and mission goals for its usage for 10 year period
2016 – “Last 10″ – 10th Anniversary of Water tower art fest
2017 – First Water tower art residency
2018 – Water tower art residency #2 – Benevolent edition