You know, fast-paced life slows down here. You don’t have to push the accelerator to get where you want to go. You forget the feeling of losing control, the feeling that something’s slipping away, the feeling that you’re not good enough. You know you have time for everything you like and enough space to run wild. You get up in the morning and nature wakes up with you, it’s sounds smoothly enter your consciousness. Life-yoga practice: you are finally here and now, you embrace reality, breathe, free to be yourself. You hear your voice again.
And what do you want to do when you have everything and don’t need more. You look around and… you see the others. You realize that when you connect with yourself, you open new pathways to the world. You discover that you are not just a witness to light and darkness, joy and sadness, injustice and balance, but you are their creator- with words, actions and creativity.
We believe that the artist is a discoverer of secrets buried in the human soul, an interpreter of visions that intertwine past, present and future and create a new, improved reality. We support dreamers, seekers, revolutionaries, free thinkers and committed artists, creators of connections and bridges, solvers of problems and conflicts. We believe in the power of art to change lives, to connect and attract like a magnet, not only with its power and aesthetic, but also with its humanity.
Whether we call it ritual art, socially engaged art, activist art, or sharing socially relevant creative ideas with others, it hardly matters. What matters is getting out of yourself, your thoughts, your life and becoming an inspiration to someone else.
You can do that here, where fast-paced life slows down.
About the residency
The Old School art residency is the first international artist residency program in Bulgaria. It’s been twelve years now since we started supporting artists from all over the world in their search for inspiration and new ideas by offering them the magic of the parallel artistic reality that we’ve created. Our residency program is not just an escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city, industrialization and consumer society but it also serves a purpose as a retreat for artists with whom we share our ideas, friendship and wholeheartedness. We believe that in doing so we help with the creation of a new generation of people/artists who have the bravery and courage to challenge and change themselves. In our eyes art is not just a mean for creating that which is esthetically pleasing but also a tool capable of changing the world. By staying with us in Gorna Lipnitsa and creating your art here, you will have the chance to become the spark of change for the people here and to leave a lasting trace in their lives. It might even happen so that the place enchants you and affects you in an unexpected way. How exactly… it’s for you to find out.
We offer a place for creative work and relax. A locus for individual artists or a small group of artists – up to 4 people – to ruminate, reflect and rejuvenate. Gorna Lipnitsa (www.gornalipnitsa.com/en/history), is a rural community, where the present and the past complement and contrast one another. Here, the spirit of Socialism is still alive, remnants of which can be found throughout the streets of the village. Upon visiting us, you will be enveloped by the bucolic scenery, crisp, clean air, silence, economical and fresh food, amiable community, and opportunity for true inspiration.
The Old school residency is a multidisciplinary residency program, we accept artists who create in the field of the visual arts (painting and drawing, wall painting, photography, installations, video, filmmaking, land art, etc.) and performance arts (music, dance, theatre).
The Residency studios
The Old School art residency was found in 2010 in the village of Gorna Lipnitsa, Bulgaria. The name of the residency derives from the place where the studios are located – a spacious and beautiful school building, created more than a hundred years ago. The classrooms of the already closed down school have been rearranged into rooms where the artists can work. The residency provides workspace for the participating artists – 6 indoor workshops including a photo studio and open air spaces – the yard of the school, movie and concert salon.
The residency has its own “Room of secrets” in which different objects are being kept, such as teaching materials collected during the long history of the school and objects from Bulgaria’s socialist past, like posters, dipositives, vinyl, literature, diaries, paintings, etc. The visiting artists have the freedom to use whatever they find in this particular room for their works.
The school is open 24/7 for the artists.
From 2010 to 2023, the residency has accepted more than 160 participants from more than 30 countries and the number of applications is over 800.
Up until this moment, we have staged about 40 exhibitions and art events, which present the works of the artists who take part in the residency.
The artists will be accommodated in guesthouses in the village. Each artist will have his own room, a common space to hang out with the other artists, a shared bathroom and kitchen. The guest houses have their own separate yard which can also be used for work and leisure. Nearby the houses are located beautiful fields and walking trails, spaces to practice sports and suitable spots to observe the evening starry sky.
For the visiting artists we organize welcome and closing dinners. We also provide the artists with the opportunity to taste clean and healthy food originating from the village: fruits and vegetables from our garden, homemade jam, dried herbs to make tea with, traditional Bulgarian alcoholic drinks as well as homemade honey.
Products can be purchased from two shops in the village as well as from the nearest town, 10 km away from Gorna Lipnitsa.
Each artist has a bicycle at their disposal as a mean to travel around the village.
Accommodation – single rooms in local guesthouses.
Welcome and closing dinner with traditional homemade food and drinks.
Access to art studios in the building of the school, which are comfortable for painting, performances, dance performances and other arts.
Guided visit to the main sights of the village – community center, church, chapel, agricultural museum, etc. These locations can be used for artistic projects, as well.
Group walks in the nature a few times a week, off road cycling routes and running trails.
Organized trip to the town of Veliko Tarnovo – the former capital of Bulgaria. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Bulgaria; artists can get materials for their work from there.
Visits to the weekly open-air market in Pavlikeni where you can buy a wide-range of fresh fruits, vegetables, clothes and antiques.
Learning the basics of Bulgarian language with our team.
Written materials created by our team which are connected with Bulgarian rituals and practice and the theme of the residency.
Showing of ritual art, the creation and development of which our residency is based upon.
Open studio or group exhibition at the end of the stay.
Presentation of the works of the participating artists on our website.
Use of the Hall in the Community Center for artistic performances. The hall is unusually large for the scale of the village and has an equipped stage together with almost 300 seats.
Horo dance lessons (horo is the Bulgarian national folk dance).
Use of bicycles for transportation in the village.
Basic tools for work – scissors, brushes, acrylic and oil paints, paper for drawing, etc.
Contact with the local community;
Letters of invitation and other support to help you raise additional funds;
Laser printer, PC and multimedia projectors;
Possibility to use free internet at certain locations in the village including the accommodation place.
We will come to pick you up from the town of Pavlikeni and take you to the place of accommodation in the village of Gorna Lipnitsa. From Sofia to Pavlikeni you can travel by train. The ticket costs no more than 10 euro.
We will give you in advance detailed instructions for your trip from Sofia to Gorna Lipnitsa. We are also going to send you a list of places which you can visit, both in the Bulgarian capital as well as other major towns, in case you decided to stay a few days more in Bulgaria.
And the most important:
A lot of fun.
Residency periods and duration of stay:
July and September 2023
1st period – from the 14th to the 31th of July
2nd period – from the 8th to the 25th of September
* We are a nonprofit organization currently functioning without any external financing. At the moment, we can continue to host artists only on a fee basis. The residency fee is intended to cover the general cost of running the program and the maintenance of the building of the old school in the village we are working in.
Additional options /for a fee/:
A one-day trip to The Buzludzha monument – an exceptional example of Brutalist architecture in Bulgaria, included in the list of the 33 most beautiful abandoned places in the world.
A one-day trip to the city of Gabrovo – the international capital of humour and satire and the hometown of the famous artist Christo. The trip will include:
visit to The Museum of Humour and Satire;
visit to The Open Air Ethnographic Museum “Etar”
A trip to the Emen canyon, a natural landmark near the village of Emen.
Terms of application:
Each candidate should send us:
– A short CV;
– Information about the selected discipline;
– Information about the selected period.
– The artists should present their works by sending info about website, portfolio or images;
– A brief initial idea about your project at the residency. For 2023 the theme of our residency is going to be “Listen to Your Voice – Connect With Others – Create the World”. You are free to work on it or on another topic if it interests you more.
E-mail for application: firstname.lastname@example.org
for the 1st period – 10th of June
for the 2nd period – 25th of June
Results announcing: Within 1 week after the deadline
We are Darina and Dimitar – artists, lawyers, founders of The Old School residency, herbalists, runners, yoga addicts, but most of all idealists and seekers. We have been organizing various art events since 2010. You can read more about us and our ideas :
As we live in the village, we are going to be personally present at the residency during your stay. We will give you practical tips and advice for everything related to your stay, work, travelling and exploration of the area.
Questions: Please submit additional questions to: email@example.com