Museums and Galleries
The inherited. According to data since 1999 in Bulgaria there are 228 museums and galleries (the private ones are not included): 36 national, 15 state, 6 regional and 171 municipal organisations. According to profile they are: museums and art galleries - 45, history - 66, natural sciences - 8, science and technology - 4, ethnography - 9, archaeology - 14, memorials - 52, general - 24, others - 6. The personnel, employed in that network are over 2300 people. The visitors for 1999 have been over 5 000 000 people, and the income - over 11 700 000 BGN.
Law does not permit state galleries and museums to operate with their assets (leasing of space, sale of pictures). Thus their opportunity for activity is limited. The state can not provide for the necessary means for normal maintenance and overhead of the buildings and the properties. Ownership suits arouse for some buildings. The condition of the edifice in some cases demands urgent replacement of institutions. There are national institutions without any space for exhibition. Still not a single institution has been shut down, no matter the pauperization of museums and galleries. Filling up of collections of museums and galleries (through donation or buy out) becomes more and more incidental.
The novelty. It is possible to speak about "Arts Market" in Bulgaria only after 1990. This market means predominantly sale of pictures by private individuals and institutions. There is no statistics about the number of the private galleries, they may be thousands of them. But the truly functioning (in Sofia) - with a programme and artistic platform - are not more than 10. They are strictly profiled and as a rule they exhibit a particular art form. The rest of the galleries develop predominantly commercial activities. Coming into view private banks started creating new, big collections of art works. Later when some of them failed, their collections went on sale (mainly at auctions) without any particular revitalizing effect on the arts market. Pioneering private biennials, triennials, festivals, plenners, etc. appeared - The International Triennial of Performing Arts Poster; "Process/Space" Festival... They are privately sponsored, and in some cases they are supported also by municipalities.