The Union of Artists against Sofia Iniversity in a battle for Gallery at 6 Shipka str.
The dispute over ownership of the property continues 40 years
The problem arises from the desire of the Sofia University to acquire ownership of the building and urges artists to pay damages for lost profits. "The created situation is extremely inconvenient, unjust and represents a violation of the Bulgarian culture," the press statement of the Union of Bulgarian Artists says. In the document they informed that the university has brought two cases against them for loss of earnings. In both courts artists win.
The Supreme Court of Cassation however held that the UBA has to pay over 650 thousand BGN damages, which represent income from rent and interest thereon for the years during which the union invoked the building. Artists have to pay and another 28 thousand costs. On this occasion from UBA explain that they feel humiliated and put on their knees. The organization, created in 1989, is self-supporting it from its own revenues, without receiving any subsidies from the state.
Currently they are preparing a crisis plan that includes all possible measures to protect community and part of the cultural heritage. Creators urge dialogue with the Sofia University in the face of the Rector Prof. Ivan Ilchev to continue and allow both sides to reach a compromise solution to the problem. In addition, UBA urge to be organized discussions with the Ministry of Culture and the Council of Ministers.
Contacted to comment from the Sofia University initially explained that they are not familiar with the declaration of the Union of Bulgarian Artists and wouldn’t like to respond. Subsequently, they explicitly refused to comment on the issue.
Disputes between the two countries began in 1969, when the state grants to UBA terrain on Shipka Street. There artists are supposed to build their showroom. Half a year later, the Council of Ministers changed this decision. It said the building will be used by artists till building the National Art Gallery. Then UBA must concede the building of Sofia University.
A year later is approved the project for building a gallery. Its value is 3,05 million BGN, of which 2 million BGN are provided for by the UBA and 800,000 BGN are granted from the national budget. But at that time the state did not indicate who and when to construct a building.
Fifteen years later during the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the University the government again decided the building should be given to the University. This should be done after the artists move into their new building, which construction has not begun.
In 2000 the district governor of Sofia issued property document to the University provided that the UBA has document for ownership of the property since 1986.