Upcoming events part of Water tower art fest initiatives

We are happy to announce the project of NGO IME and Aim network in Plovdiv 2019


1–10 June

aim plovdiv 2019 posterDesign by Denitsa Toneva

With the coming opportunity of meeting of AIM members in Plovdiv 2019 with local artistic initiatives and  form the Balkan region, we will be able to have a more structured dialogue regarding influences artists have through their independent initiatives and at the same time support the ones that are still under development.

AIM Network (https://www.facebook.com/ArtistsInitiativesMeetings/), started at Supermarket independent art fair for artists run initiatives in Stockholm  in 2010 https://www.supermarketartfair.com/,  in partnership with Candyland Stockholm Water tower art fest is a partner to AIM network since 2014.

AIM Plovdiv 2019 – Local Connections brings together a range of European artist-run initiatives to connect independent Bulgarian art scene with the surrounding regions and internationally. The project builds on AIM Network’s long-term goals to facilitate connections, build new collaborations, strengthen the artist-run scene and make it accessible to the public. It develops the concept of working on a large-scale local basis across different but interconnected neighbouring regions. Despite the state borders, artists and curators often share similar social and cultural questions, common traditions and discourse in contemporary art, yet often they do not have the opportunity to meet in person and share their experience. The project will offer a range of events including public workshops, panel discussion, guided tour and exhibition. AIM Plovdiv 2019 is organised by AIM Network and Water Tower Art Fest with the support of Plovdiv 2019 European Capital of Culture.

AIM Network (Artists’ Initiatives’ Meetings Network) is a European network of artist-run initiatives. It serves as a platform for exchange of experience, sharing of knowledge, increasing of mobility and cooperation between artist-run initiatives, and to raise awareness of the artist-run sector among both professional art world and the broader public. The network has currently eleven artist-run member spaces from across Europe.



Water tower art residency 2018

 “Social Development Through Creative Practices”

Places and Events by date:

-13.06- Public presentation by guests mentors art directors from UK 16:00- 19:00 @The Fridge. With the Support form National Fund of Culture Bulgaria

- 14.06 – opening exhibition for works made for Arosita Gallery

- 15.06 – the artists of “Water tower Creative Residence” №2 and a team will appear as volunteers-hosts of the event “Suspended Lunch” in support of Solidarity Kitchen Sofia. Invited guests will prepay one lunch for themselves and one “suspended” – the collected funds and products will go to the Sunday lunch organized by Solidarity Kitchen on 17 June, as an initiative to support people in need, held every Sunday in the Solidarity Club at 51 George Washington Street – and part of the prepared “suspended” lunches will be given out on the same day, on the 15th. Partners of the initiative are Move.bg, the lunch taking place at their space on 20 Serdika Str.

- 15.06 – opening in the art space “Rakovski 167″

- 16.06 – opening in the former warehouse “Despred” on Veslets street with public performances and music program – closing of the creative residence

- 17.06 – 19.06 spaces open for visits


Валентина Шара (Италия) / Valentina Sciarra (Italy)

Ева-Лиса Пухака (Финландия) / Eeva Lisa Puhaka (Finland)


Patrick Fenech (Malta)

Juan José Valencia (Spain)

Marta Wlusek (Poland)

Marc Shmitz (Germany)

Xiao Li (Japan)

Ruby Cedar (UK)

Corinne Fhima (France)

Gal Leshem(Israel)

Maia Iotzova (Bulgaria)

Darena Georgieva (Bulgaria)


The project was made possible with the kind support of: Nikolay Nedelchev, Gaudenz B Ruf Awards, Ministry of Culture





In the face of rapid changes in environment and urban development as well as social and cultural scene we are also changing
What once we thought was valuable and real now has stepped out to a more serene look on matters connected with communication through the arts
Water tower art fest is no longer,
But a new platform for immediate communication through contemporary arts is rising
We invite you to do socially interactive actions, performances or exhibition addressing issues or tendency of general isolation in the cities, tolerance and well-being, as well as actions, which contribute in general way the communication between people– where elitism is peaking its head out suffocating real people-to-people communication. What we know is not what we see, what we get is not what we want. This is an artist run initiative and as we are starting to run it independently from institutions without any financial support, there is a participation fee for the organization.

Theme: Social Development Through Creative Practices

Deadline 15 April 2018
Period of residency 01.06. – 17.06.2018
Event opening dates: various at each place tba
What we offer is interaction in the city of Sofia in four or more venues with additional possibility for public spaces interaction based on application proposal
What we expect from the artistic proposals is:
> Leaving immediate social impact through practice
> Creative methods of achieving improvements for the specific site/space/social context/existing issue in the society
> Requires immersion in the local context, as well as bringing global practices
> Participants come together for period of 2 weeks,
> Incorporation of scheduled one-to-one meetings with residency advisors, workshops and public interaction throughout the stay, sites open to visit while works are developed
> Final 2-3 days – official results presentation to the public and partners with musical concert and performances at a destination in Sofia tba
Rules for applying;
Please send via email no later than 10.April 2018, 18:00pm to this email: watertowerartfest@gmail.com (if you are sending big file transfer please use wetransfer) the following:
• A resume of proposed project to do during the residency; it can be only an outline of possible activity, exhibit, performance, installation or action explained in a resume. Please mention possible media usage technical details and scale of proposed project, add visualization including photos or sketches if possible.
• A recent CV
• One Recommendation

What we offer:
Three scholarships available for WTAR2 based on proposed projects and decision of selection juries of 500 Euros each
For the rest of accepted residents there is a fee of 200 Euros to be paid prior to arrival- the fee covers:
- Accommodation, arranged by us in center of Sofia for the whole period covered. All artists are to cook or arrange their own meals. With the help of staff, we will be able to show you closest supermarkets and grocery stores, as well as restaurants close by.
- A guide in Sofia with help of staff upon arrival
- technical support and support sourcing out required materials for the respective works (artists are responsible for their materials for which we are ready to help find them or rent them)
*All artists are responsible for their transportation. A staff member will pick you up from airport.
**We will ask you to leave one artwork at the end of residency to the organizers, which will be subject of choice for a collector form Bulgaria.

During the residency, participants will be offered:
One-to-one meetings with guest workshop facilitators and residency advisors, as well as group meetings with local curators and other industry professionals
Curator’s walk and lunch with both national and international curators and collectors during the period of residency.
Integration with other galleries and arts programs, and a host of presentations, openings, performances and lectures.
Unrestricted access to venues to work on site
Technical support for installing the works
Catalogue and brochure issuing after end of residency + online edition on site
Interviews arranged in national media
Highlight of artworks on social media facebook (5000 followers) and site
Professional photo and video documentation high res of artworks and performances
A workshop or lecture organized by WTAR for artists to give to local art scene and students
General interaction with local art scene
Works development and installation will take place with “Open Doors” policy – members of the public as well as visiting residency advisors and other interested party are invited to come by and visit the process. This is an opportunity to maintain local contact and be strongly rooted within the local context of the program, making direct impact on the community/place where works are to be carried out/presented.
Selection Juries:
Nia Pushkarova – Director and Chief Curator of Water tower art fest/ residency
Rositsa Getsova – Artist and Gallerist owner of Arosita Gallery
Nikolay Nedelchev – Art Collector from Sofia

Arosita Gallery- exhibition place, http://www.arosita.info/
Labaratory of BG ROSE- social interaction place for performance action and exhibition (tbc)
Despred Hall – exhibition place- https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2gqDgNTx6J-LTNKRUwtem1kMkE
Public Mineral water basin area
Other public spaces around the city
*More photos will follow of sties soon
**The organizers remain their right to change/replace venues due to outside circumstances beyond their jurisdiction.

Ngo IME, Nia Pushkarova – Director and Curator of WTAF
9 Bogatista street, Sofia 1421
Skype: niapush

Water Tower Artists at Nakanojo Art Biennale – September 2017


This autumn, a Bulgarian touch will aid the transformation of abandoned spaces in one of the most scenic and inspiring places in JapanNakanojo. The world recognised Nakanojo Art Biennale traditionally invites international artists with projects for reviving disused buildings and adapting them as galleries and exhibitions spaces for the duration of the event. Nia Pushkarova, the founder and director of Water Tower Art Fest and Association IME, has received an invite from the organisers of the biennale for participation with a whole pavilion dedicated to contemporary Bulgarian art. Together with Nia, the Bulgarian pavilion at Nakanojo, “Distant Relatives”, will be presented by: Galina Yotova – long-term collaborator and official photographer of WTAF; Elitsa Ganeva – long-term collaborator of WTAF, recipient of WTAF 2016 “Debut” Award; Radina Stoimenova – former intern (2015) and participant in WTAF 2016, performance, installations. Their projects will see the former primary school in Nakanojo take on a new life throughout September 2017.

The participation of precisely Water Tower Art Fest artists and organisers is no coincidence, given the many similarities between the two projects – Nakanojo and WTAF – and it serves to prove the experience and expertise of Association IME (WTAF) in the field of urban arts and interventions. Both WTAF and Nakanojo Art Biennale were set up in the same year, 2006. The projects share the same idea about re-imagining disused urban spaces and rediscovering their potential. 

In just 10 years, the Biennale has turned Nakanojo in an attractive cultural hub for international artists and an area of regeneration – abandoned schools are being turned into galleries, public spaces take on the role of sculpture parks. The project is a successful example of a sustainable cultural initiative. The Biennale has a socio-economic contribution to the region, by a). creating temporary employment for the locals, as translators and artists’ assistants, as well as volunteers, b). attracting thousands of tourists for several months, c). aiding the communication between institutions, artists and culture collectives; helping emerging practitioners get noticed by renowned curators, international associations and media.

Likewise, over the last 10 years Water Tower Art Fest have been developing and fighting for good practices in preserving valuable but abandoned Bulgarian cityscapes, proving that culture is not something that can be just stored in a museum or gallery but is actually part of our everyday life. Even after unjustly losing the symbol of the festival, the old water tower in Sofia’s Lozenec area (the municipality closed the tower for public access in 2014 and then, in 2016 sold it privately, through a “behind-the-closed-doors” auction to a yet unnamed buyer, despite all the regeneration efforts and project proposal for permanent art space from WTAF), the collective continues its work in socially engaged art practices, locally and internationally – and their visit to Japan is an opportunity to acquire further knowledge in building sustainable development models. 

The model adopted in Nakanojo is one of cultural exchange and active communication, which produces long-lasting partnerships and gives basis to future shared projects; it creates a dialogue for finding solutions to the current, shared issues in the art world – rather than just being a pure exhibition platform. The same principals were established by WTAF 2006-2016 and all consecutive initiatives of Association IME, e.g. Water Tower Art Residency, July 2017.

Last, but not least, the impressive number of visitors to Nakanojo Biennale – over 470 000 for the 2016 edition – will guarantee wide exposure to the Bulgarian pavilion and its representatives, thus further promoting contemporary Bulgarian art overseas and contextualising it within the international arts scene.


You can follow live updates & details of WTAF’s visit to Nakanojo Biennale 2017 on Facebook



WTAR 2017 Documentary



Mariko Hori (Japan/Serbia) – Born in Hyogo, Japan, based in Belgrade, Serbia. Mainly installations, her work deals with alternatives space and uncovering site-specific perceptions through broadening or changing the focus in the details of daily life. When intentionally placing specific objects in spaces where they don’t usually belong, the selection of objects and the space in-between makes the atmosphere different and something unexplainable arises.


Marina Moskalenko (Ukraine) – Marina specializes in interactive installations, actions and visual arts (incl. Fine Arts, with Graphic Artist qualification); her WTAR project will be presented in Depot Poduene, details TBC – the concept of her project will be created and developed during the residency, with the site in mind, and is not available beforehand.


Johannes Gerard (Netherlands) – visual artist with almost 30 years of experience with projects in sculpture, installations, mixed media, photography and print; his WTAR project will be presented at the House of Culture “Iskur”, details TBC.


Pierre Tardiff (France/UK) – creative technologist and sound designer, with a degree in electronic engineering, Pierre has an exciting portfolio of work in London; his idea is to present a combination of music, science and artwork.


Anna-Maria Bogner (Austria) – her work focuses on the appropriation of space, space limitations and the spaces in between. WTAR project: installation from objects found on site, transforming the space in which they’re found; an exploration of our own and shared reality.


Haruka Tomatsu (Japan)WTAR project: installation and interactive dance performance for Depot Poduene, exploring memories-objects relations; the dance technique used in this project is called Butho – originated in Japan in the 1950s, it’s a dance without preliminary choreography, created on the spot, depending on the space and context in which it is performed. 


Serena Chalker (Australia) – Serena’s practice draws from dance, audio/text, theatre, happening and intervention. WTAR project: series of intimate performance encounters / meetings with the audience, based at Depot Poduene, examining our relationship to change and transition, and how this influences our sense of connectedness to a place.


Ren Qian, Cai Qing, Shen Yun (China)collective exhibition of projects (video, photography, installations), documenting a nearly 10-years long exploration of water (lakes, rivers, bays, etc.) and its place in humans’ traditions/history/practices around the world and in China.

Nia PushkarovaPREDISPOSITION LIMITED BY CIRCUMSTANCES” – Performance and installation

Music Performers

Ponton (Serbia) - The Serbian Duo are Marko Jevtic and Igor Stangliczky. PonTon are soundscape storytellers since 2008 and have 5 albums behind their back – a collection of electro-acoustic improv, drone, post-rock, soundscape storytelling. 

White Flower (UK) - Seb Silas (soprano saxophone) and Sylvia Schmidt (vocals).
Formed as a response to the erratic and all-consuming city of London, White Flower offers its audiences an opportunity to step away from urban life, pay attention to intimate sound, and be drawn into dream-like sonorities. Through creating a focus on stillness & silence, but exploring uncomfortability & contradiction, a trance-like catharsis is offered for contemplation.


21.07, 18:00-22:00, Council Cultural Institute House of Culture “Iskur”:  Cai Qing, Ren Qian, Shen Yun, Johannes Gerard, PonTon

22.07, 18:00-23:00, Depot Poduene: all other artists, White Flower


Photo credit – Performance Chelsea Coon WATF 2016, photo by Galya Yotova

DATES – 14- 23 JULY 2017
– TRAIN DEPO PODUENE- 5 ARTISTS AT RESIDENCY -https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2gqDgNTx6J-VmlTNWd2Qjl2UHM
– CULTURE HOUSE ISKUR https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B2gqDgNTx6J-ZzBOdFFGYlVubVE

This year we are launching the Short Artists Residency as a continuation of our practice of socially engaged arts in alternative venues. It will be an attempt to do work in collaboration between artists on site working with: performance and installation, interactive actions including the audience and citizens around the places. The results of the residency and performance program will be on sites on 21 to 23rd of July.

Interested artists, curators or practitioners/ thinkers should send a -
- short cv /bio /resume with contacts
-with project proposal or sphere of activity during the stay or site-specific installation or performance for Depo Poduene or Culture house Iskur
- One contact of referee

Deadline 10 of June 2017

What we offer is accommodation at the Depo Poduene for 5 artists, in shared room
Possibility for other accommodation for small fee 10 Euro per day up to 5 artists https://www.facebook.com/events/444006509270092/permalink/453372788333464/

And technical assistance and rental equipment to be discussed after selection
Write to watertowerartfest@gmail.com
Selection committee:
Nia Pushkarova – Director of Water tower art fest
Co Selector: Mariko Hori
Technical assistance – Teodor Nanev and Georgi Kamburov
PR – Oli Gots

Thank you all!

Photo by Galya Yotova

link to gallery here


and …….END! For some it was an incredible opportunity and experience as it was intended to be, for others it showed a way to a different more personal approach which needs much more flexibility and understanding and engagement of one’s action in the society. In order to understand Water tower art fest you have to start with understanding the initial drive lead me to start this 10 years ago- and that is that one person alone makes a difference! we are not an institution, we are not a organization, which has an office, nor salaries and set working hours – we work 24/7 for 12 months a year in order to have this happening! Thank you all for being part of this last edition of WTAF








Water Tower Art Fest is an artist run intiative since 2006 and we welcome you to our anniversary edition between 16 and 25th of June 2016.

Please take a look at our Program of Water Tower Art Fest

Cinema House -  Festival info point

Opening hours: 11:00 – 17:00

37, Ekzarh Yosif Str.

We need to clarify that we are only using the water tower as a symbol of festival and working in alternative spaces. Because of us and our efforts throughout the years, this beautiful building now is an art center, or yet to function as such. We are about to enter other emblematic spaces in the city and its periffery and are looking forward to our 10th anniversary and we hope you too.


The open call is closed! Now is time to review them all and we will get back very soon to each one of you! We are happy to announce that for this year edition after inviting the artist Kim Dotty Hachmann from Berlin (hdpk)  she accepted to be a co-selector!


17 – 25.06.2016

We kindly invite you to present an idea for our 10th anniversary at 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. 

You will be able to present an artwork (installation, projection sculpture, painting, photography, performance, land art project etc.) workshop or talk presentation or both during the festival program 
At specific VENUES as follows:
Fabrika 126(http://fabrica126.com/?lang=en)

SHORT RESIDENCY – You can also take part in the short artist’s residency either at Fabrika 126 for a 1 week period prior to festival starting 10th of June 

TRAIN DEPO PODUENE- https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B2gqDgNTx6J-VmlTNWd2Qjl2UHM&usp=sharing

“Psychiatric clinic St. Ivan Rilski” at KURILO – the PARK – The clinic is situated half an hour form Center of Sofia and is one of the few clinics that has its own recreational park, which we have the opportunity to populate with sculptures, installations and performance for the opening day. The whole team of the clinic is going to work with us and the main theme is anti-stigma society!
Here is some more info on the clinic: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1D9PE-Qgy5IzWzcHWDZfANSexIt9uZ8G7YBhOaKA6u7w/edit?usp=sharing

Additional possibiltiy to show works at a-cube.gallery 

*New venue where you can propose your interactive performances or installation is Sofia Airport https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B2gqDgNTx6J-VFVCaGVQcHJfa1E&usp=sharing

REQUIREMENTS – Please send the idea in written statement explaining it and accompanied by short CV, photo material of the work, sketches or videos and detailed information on all the necessary specific materials and equipment needed for presenting your work.
*Due to unforeseen circumstances, beyond our, control we keep the right for altering the venues in question!

DEADLINES accepting proposals until 31.03.2016
Announcing the results 15.04.2016
Sending addition information: 10.05.2016
Residency start 10th of June 
Festival opening 17th June – end 25th of June 
SELECTION PROCEDURE – Selection is made by curator of festival – Nia Pushkarova and especially invited previous artists participants to festival (tbc)

WORKSHOPS PROPOSAL OPTION: Within the frame of festival we offer possibility for organizing different workshops at your choice, targeting audience: children, students, adults or people with disabilities esp. those with social integration problems art therapy.
PARTICIPATION FEE 25€– TOWARD ISSUING A CATALOGUE. We invite you to be part of our collective catalogue by writing text or sharing idea with your design
We offer possibility to propose text body or visuals for the catalogue only on themes such as, but not specifically connected to: social effect of contemporary art. You may apply only with that kind of proposal, but we will still need the fee of 25Euro for participation.
COMMERCIAL GALLERY SHOW: This year we offer possibility to show commercial work apart from the interdisciplinary approach of festival and open an exhibition to public consisting mainly of commercial art work of our artists. This is going to be organized outside festival period in July 2016 at a Gallery Nuance, so all selected artists are advised to bring one or two art works which can be shown at this exhibition offered for sale. Additional conditions will follow!
What you can expect from us is full assistance in installing your work, finding materials and/or renting out necessary equipment (to be discussed prior to festival’s opening and decided upon our financial possibilities, should it be more than what we can cover, it is possible to arrange renting of all equipment for you to pay the extra) accompanying with team to locations form center of Sofia, in some cases private bus will be transporting us to festivals locations.

SENDING OPTIONS – Mind the formats for sending videos: mpeg, avi, DVD format, please use big file transfer such as we transfer or yousendit, google drive link or vimeo link for downloading. As for big postal packages – please write on top of parcel NOT FOR SALE- use this address: 
Street Bogatica 9, ap 12, Sofia 1421, Bulgaria, NGO IME – Director Nia Pushkarova
Please keep in mind that in Bulgaria we use mainly PC not MAC!!!!
PRINTING OPTIONS – at Fabrika 126 you will be able to print anything you want at preferable prices and on any material you choose as well as size.
*We are not responsible for any lost or damaged artwork. We do not cover any travel grants nor accommodation, nor do we pay fees to artists. In some cases we will be able to send out individual invitation letters after selection procedure to help you fund your travel and accommodation.
We will be able to assist you in finding accommodation and a team of volunteers will be available throughout the whole festival period for helping you get around, even meeting you at airport.
For best performance we advise you to send out clear and concise parameters of your work, even if it contains suggestive surprise factor, so we will be able to help you find everything you may need in advance. The whole team will be communicating with you prior to festival, including technical assistance, do not be surprised if you receive messages from same e-mail, but different people. This is how we work – we use the same e-mail. 
Last but not least we will be delighted to welcome you at our 10th anniversary which means a lot to all of us.

CONTACTS: watertowerartfest@gmail.com

MAP: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zEeFduett0vE.kVS-ntFBUT_I&usp=sharing

© Water tower art fest