Vesselina Sarieva


Vesselina Sarieva was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She is a cultural manager, curator, collector, author, initiator and founder of numerous internationally successful projects and organizations. Since 2004 she has been actively working to create innovative models for support, presentation, development and promotion in the field of art, culture and urban development, and her work has become an important factor for the country's artistic scene and its representation abroad. Vesselina is the founder of Sarieva/Gallery (2021) (successor of the family-run Sariev, 2004-2021), Open Arts Foundation (2007), artnewscafe (2008) and Кабинет* (2022), today united by the hybrid environment SARIEVA/HUB.

She describes her work at the beginning of her career in Bulgaria as a "cultural activist", later as a "curator of context", and in this broad concept covers her diverse work positions in the field of culture. Since 2004 Vesselina has worked actively for the creation and sustainable development of innovative models and practices for supporting the contemporary Bulgarian culture and art. For this purpose, she founded together with Katrin Sarieva a three-way model, consisting of a gallery – Sariev (2004-2011 Sariev Gallery for Contemporary Ceramics and Photography until 2004, Sariev Contemporary gallery with a representative list of authors since 2012), Open Arts Foundation (2007) and cafe and community center – artnewscafe (2008). The headquarters of these organizations are located in Plovdiv, next to each other at 36, 38 and 40 Otets Paisiy Str., forming a kind of cultural center, supplemented in summer by an open stage for art and culture – FLUCA: Austrian Cultural Pavilion (since 2016).

Today, the activities of Sarieva and her organizations extend beyond these physical spaces with projects in the public space and other cities, both Sofia and international, working with broad partners network and finding recognition and followers. Vesselina Sarieva began working in the field of visual arts and culture in 2004 with Katrin Sarieva, with whom she developed the family tradition of supporting artists, art and culture. Prior to her work in the visual arts, Vesselina Sarieva was engaged in literature. She has Master's degree in Slavic Philology from the Plovdiv University, she has specialized in Croatian language and literature. Until 2006 she had realized several poetic projects and the book "OSHT" published by Janet 45 with editor Georgi Gospodinov.

For her merits she received the Iron Medal for Contemporary Art “Ventsislav Zankov” in 2010 and the Woman of the Year Award of Grazia Magazine in 2011. Capital Newspaper included her in its top 100 of the most influential women in 2012. She was also part of the project “40 under 40” by Darik Radio for successful young people. 

Her work and different projects have been covered in international media such as New York Times International, TAZ, Die Welt, Blunderbuss Magazine, Art Review, Art Guide East, Forbes Bulgaria. Vesselina Sarieva is alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) - U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. She has also been guest speaker at conferences and forums for cultural management, contemporary art and cultural policies in Sofia, Istanbul, Berlin, Bucharest, Hamburg and others.   

Some of the key larger projects, initiated and conceptualized either individually or in a team of experts, and organized by Vesselina Sarieva and her organizations, are:

Key active clusters and projects:

  • 2018 – up to date: Open Art Files: Topics, People, Spaces, Files in Bulgarian Contemporary Art website /
    database / archive of Bulgarian contemporary art, online library and environment for art
    criticism /
  • 2016 – up to date : FLUCA: Austrian Cultural Pavilion / an open stage for art and culture
    with a curated programme / launched as an annual spring and summer project in 2016 in Plovdiv / a season in Sofia in 2018 /
  • 2015 – up to date: Working visits of international curators and art critics / Regularly / Link
  • 2011 – up to date: Collectors’ Forum / lectures and collections / Plovdiv and Sofia /
    Regularly / presents international and Bulgarian private and corporate collecting practices, guides in compiling and maintaining a collection/ Link
  • 2008 – up to date: Artnewscafe bulletin / a monthly publication in Bulgarian, offering up-to-date news on events in the arts, both in the country and around the world / launched asa monthly printed periodical in 2008 and an online publication since 2015 / Active to date /

Past projects:

  • 2021: Future Unforgettable / curated multi-genre situation in the visual arts, developed in six phases / exhibitions, documentaries, screenings, debates, exhibition tours,
    collaborations with collectors, publications / Plovdiv, Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Varna /
  • 2020: Circle of Friends for Bulgarian Art / a joint initiative with Office for Art, Berlin /
    common platform for experts and art lovers, created to focus on certain topics, issues and areas in art, to provide knowledge and educational mediation, to give support for art, artists, initiatives, institutions and to network internationally / Link
  • 2019: Sariev + Markov sculpture projects / a joint initiative with Markovstudio, Trebich
    district / projects in public space – artists’ residencies, project implementation in urban
    environment, lectures, exhibitions / Link
  • 2018: The book An Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art, authored by Vessela
    Nozharova / a research process started in 2012, published in Bulgarian and English in 2018/ Link
  • 2015: Focus: Bulgaria / an overview of Bulgarian contemporary art, including a curatorial exhibition, a publication, a programme of discussions, performances, and a video programme / Venue: viennacontemporary, Vienna, Austria / Link
  • 2013: Lotus Debates / A series of debates on the following topics: cooperation between
    municipality and cultural operators, cooperation between educational institutions and
    cultural operators, neighbourhood management, the multi-ethnic scope of cultural events / Plovdiv / Link
  • 2013 - 2017; An Alternative Map of Plovdiv / together with Katrin Sarieva / a printed
    edition in 2013 and online since 2013, updated in 2017 / Active to date /
  • 2012 - 2015: A City Arbour / with Katrin Sarieva / thematic lectures and discussions about the city / editions in 2012 and 2015 / Plovdiv / Link
  • 2011 - 2019: Introduction to Contemporary Art / educational platform of lectures /
    annually / Sofia, Plovdiv and online / Link
  • 2010 – 2019: BACKGROUND: Young Artists / An exhibition project and a platform to
    support young artists and curators / regularly / Plovdiv and Sofia / Link
  • 2005 - 2019: Night of Museums and Galleries, Plovdiv – known today as NIGHT/Plovdiv/
    A festival and platform in support of culture and urban development / held annually from 2005 to 2018, a special edition in 2019 /

Selected curatorial projects

Here are a few selected projects, curated by Vesselina Sarieva, excluding the numerous
exhibitions and individual events in the programs of Sariev, Sarieva, Open Arts Foundation,
artnewscafe, festivals organized by her.


  • FUTURE UNFORGETTABLE / multi-genre situation in six time and thematic phases /
    September - December 2021 / various places in Bulgaria and online/ concept by Vesselina Sarieva /
  • Brittle Power group exhibition and educational programme / Rada Boukova, Luchezar
    Boyadjiev, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Vikenti Komitski, Rudi Ninov, Nedko Solakov, Mariana
    Vassileva, Sibin Vassilev / Curated by René Block and Vesselina Sarieva / 5 June 2021 - 5 September 2021 / Kunsthal 44Møen, Møen, Denmark / Link
  • LET THEM DRAW III / curated by Pravdoliub Ivanov and Vesselina Sarieva / Alec Finlay,
    Galina Dimitrova, Hortensia Mi Kafchin, Mariana Vassileva, Sevda Semer, Vlad Nancă 12
    February 2021 – 31 March 2021 / Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv / Link


  • MAGIA NATURALIS / based on the ideas of Boyan Manchev and Vesselina Sarieva / Phase I/ Bignia Wehrli, Marta Djourina, L / Texts: Boyan Manchev, Vesselina Sarieva / 26 June - 28 August 2020 / Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv / Link


  • BACKGROUND: Young Artists from Plovdiv/ Mitch Brezounek, Martina Vacheva, Dimitar
    Genchev, Velizar Dimchev, Yavor Kostadinov, Lyubomir Krastev, Trifon Tashev, Valko
    Chobanov, Dimitar Shopov / 5 July – 30 August 2019 / Sariev Contemporary, Danchova
    House in the Old Town, Cu29 gallery / Link
  • THE GALAXIES OF TEKLA – Drawings for book covers 1979-1989 / Tekla Aleksieva /
    2 November - 27 December 2019 / Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv / Link


  • POOR, BUT SEXY / Anton Stoyanov (Berlin), Vikenti Komitski (Sofia), Voin de Voin
    (Berlin), Lazar Lyutakov (Vienna), Lubri (Sofia), Rada Boukova (Paris) / 17 September 2011 -
    30 October 2011 / Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv / Link

Vesselina Sarieva

Sarieva/Hub Development Chart, 2023.



  • Property of: Vesselina Sarieva
  • Description: Chart illustrating the development of all Sarieva/HUB projects and initiatives (Sarieva/Gallery, Open Arts Foundation, Artnewscafe, Cabinet).