In 1998, several like-minded friends decided to support Ivan Rusev’s idea about the creation of a sculpture park in the village of Ilindentsi, and went on to establish the Ilindentsi Art Center Foundation.
The beginning of this cultural venue can be traced as far back as 1992-1994 when Ivan Rusev succeeded in securing space for the venue in the village of Ilindentsi where the park keeps growing to this day. Initial support for the foundation included contributions by art connoisseur Zdravko Stoitsev, who supported the foundation for three years. The administration of the municipality of Strumyani, where the art center is being developed, provides substantial support to the initiative.
An area of 3 ha was gradually developed into a park including 47 artworks matching the natural scenery. Some of them, namely The Forum, a functioning amphitheater with seating capacity for more than 350 people; Lake Epiphany, where the race for the cross tossed in its waters takes place on the Christian holiday of Epiphany; and the stone-paved pathways, are large-scale projects within The Network sculptural project which came to life through the efforts of numerous participants. Naturally, they bring people from the village going through this Marble City or attending an event at the Center closer to contemporary sculpture.
Symposia and plein air painting events organized by the Art Center Ilindentsi Foundation over the past 20 years were attended by 164 artists from Bulgaria, Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Israel, India, Canada, Mexico, Romania, the USA, Slovakia, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Japan. These events were notably attended by eight stone carvers from Sacuragawa, Japan, whose craft has been passed down through generations.
The exhibition presents sculptures and paintings by artists who participated in former actions, including Angel Stanev, Ani Pokrovnishka, Valentin Starchev, Dinko Stoev, Dolores Dilova, Emil Popov, Ivaylo Avramov, Ivaylo Mirchev, Ivan Rusev, Kalina Taseva, Cyril Meskin, Lyuben Genov, Milko Bozhkov, Monica Popova, Nina Ruseva, Svetlin Rusev, Svilen Blazhev, Stefan Lyutakov, Stoyan Tsanev.
The exhibition also features photographs of highlights of the sculpture park and of events organized by the Center. The photos are presented by: Darina Zlatareva, Stoyan Petkov, Mariana Ruseva, Marieta Konova, Tatyana Toteva, Cyril Valchev, Emil MIhaylov, etc.
The following films will be shown: Plain Shapes, director, writer: Stefan Dzhambazov, director of photography: Tsvetan Nedkov, 2004; The Marble City, director, director of photography: Gospodin Nedelchev, writer: Svetla Kamenova, 2007; Ilindentsi, Elevation 377, a film by Borimir Ilkov-Bono. A BNT reportage cycle of 4 films made between 2001 and 2008 will also be shown, director: Lyubka Borisova, writer Atanas Pironev, directors of photography: Alexander Karadzhov, Feodor Surgov.
The project was completed with kind support from the Culture Program of Capital City Municipal Administration.