Water Tower Art Fest: artist-run initiative showcases contemporary art in Sofia

2 June 2014

NGO IME and Water Tower Art Fest are pleased to announce the 8th edition of the annual Water Tower Art Fest, taking place from 20-25 June 2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Water Tower Art Fest is an artist-run initiative that showcases contemporary art in alternative spaces. Since 2012 Water Tower Art Fest is a proud member of the Bulgarian Festivals Association (BFA), which is one of EFA’s collective and affiliate members.

Water Tower Art Fest was started in 2006 with the goal of providing a platform for cultural and creative exchange, social change, and artistic community. It has since become the premier contemporary arts festival in Bulgaria, attracting artists, volunteers, and visitors from all corners of the globe. Water Tower Art Fest is unique in that it is an artist-to-artist initiative; its founder, Nia Pushkarova, being herself an accomplished painter. Throughout its 8-year history, Water Tower Art Fest has made a point of utilising alternative spaces for its installations and displays, its name coming from a disused water tower in the Lozenets district of Sofia, the festival’s very first venue and its de facto symbol.

Nia Pushkarova is one of the co-founders of the Bulgarian Festivals Association (BFA). The BFA is a civic organisation which brings together more than 30 of the best Bulgarian festivals from different art sectors (including visual arts, cinema, music, theatre and others) and festivals with different sizes, budgets and geographic scope. The Bulgarian Festivals Association is a member of one of the oldest European cultural organisations, the European Festivals Association.

This year’s festival features more than 40 artists from over 15 countries whose work covers all contemporary art disciplines. The highlight of this year’s festival is the participation of famed US artist Bill Viola, a pioneer of digital, video, and audio art. This year’s opening ceremony will be held on 20 June at 6:30PM in the garden at the water tower’s base.

In 2014 edition the festival’s programme features more than 40 artists whose works will be displayed in a variety of venues in the city of Sofia: a water tower in Lozenets, a former foundry, the underground ruins of Serdica, as well as more traditional venues. Some artists, like Johannah Herr (USA), Micaela Vivero (Germany), and Viktoria Georgieva (Bulgaria) are creating site-specific installations for these unique and unusual venues. In addition to installations, the Water Tower Art Fest programme includes performances by Stina Pehrsdotter and Niclas Hallberg (Sweden), Kim Dotty Hachmann and Steffie Simen (Germany) and workshops by Hiroshi Ueta (Japan) and Katya Stoycheva (Bulgaria). NGO IME will also be hosting a conference titled “The Future of Artist-run Initiatives” on 23-25 June at the Red House Centre for Culture and Debate. This conference will include panels and workshops by Stofie Gretvie (Sweden), John W. Fail (USA /Finland), Mary Conlon (Ireland), Kaspars Lielgalvis (Latvia), and Katya Stoicheva (Bulgaria).

The highlight of this year’s exciting programme is American video artist Bill Viola. His video installation “Visitation”, from his 2008 Transfigurations series, will be on display in the underground Serdica venue throughout the festival. Bill Viola is internationally recognised as a leading contemporary artist and as one of the main forces behind establishing video as a valid form of contemporary art. Known for his room-sized environments that envelop viewers with sound and feature multiple screens of moving images, Viola creates sublimely romantic imagery in the tradition of painting through radically new digital media.

Water Tower Art Fest is a free festival, from its installations to its workshops. Some events have limited seating, so please reserve your spot ahead of time. To see a full schedule of this year’s events and to learn more about taking part in the festival as an attendee or volunteer, visit or find us on Facebook ( or twitter (@watertowerartfest).

(Photo by Galya Yotova – all rights reserved Water tower art fest® 2013 – old train station Kazichene)