Goa, apart from its tropical beaches and eccentric parties, is also known as the cultural hub of India. Artists flee from all parts of the country to soak in the inspiration and lifestyle it offers. You can find the most happening events here in the domain of film, literature, photography, music, cuisine, design, and art.
A popular one among them is the Goa Open Arts Festival which is envisaged as a 4-day creative ‘mela’ that’s a platform for the Goan resident artists to showcase their work. It was conceived in 2019 and is a platform founded by the OPEN ARTS INITIATIVE, a group of creative professionals living and working in Goa.
“With the belief that the arts play a catalytic role in the vitalization of our society, community, and the world at large, our aim is to invigorate the creative community in the region. This may be in the form of public events, grants, workshops, school interactions, residencies, mentoring, school interactions and more.”
Goa Open Arts is funded by patrons and art lovers in and out of state. Their Catalyst Grant 2020 for Media Arts was also supported by the Goethe-Institut and Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai. All their funds go towards maximizing the benefits for the artists they promote, their operations, and the art community as a whole. They also use the funds for their mentorship program thatprovides guidance and assistance to artists seeking support, and their workshops and outreach programs which aim to make art accessible to all.
The core team at Goa Open Arts is made up of members: Diptej Vernekar, an artist and member of the Goa Arts Collective, Gopika Chowfla, designer and visual artist, Gurpreet Sidhu, designer and design entrepreneur, Prashant Panjia, photographer and curator, and Sitara Chowfla, curator and arts manager.
Their debut effort, the Goa Open Arts Festival 2020 was a resounding success that galvanized a creative talent pool of 75 creative practitioners working and residing in Goa and a diverse audience in one venue over a period of 4 days.
In the summer of 2020, responding to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, Goa Open Arts initiated the Catalyst Grants. Through an open call and a juried selection, 6 artists were supported with a financial grant for a new or ongoing project. The work from the Catalyst Grants was exhibited at a month-long exhibition titled ‘Retellings’ in February 2021 at the Sunaparanta Centre for the Arts, Goa.
In 2021, Goa Open Arts gave out the second edition of the Catalyst grants to 6 Goa-based artists and also initiated the Goa Open Arts ENGAGE Grants to support projects and artist-led initiatives that benefit and engender community engagement. The first Grant resulted in a project which brought together 40 children from Aldona village in Goa to create a mural under the mentorship of 3 artists.
This year, their artist showcase comes in the form of an exciting venture called the Goa Open Arts Fundraiser Exhibition. It’s a 3-day event from October 7-9, featuring some of Goa’s brightest creatives. You can watch performance art exploring the relationship between the body and environment in dreams by Bhisaji Gadekar, a recipient of the FICA Emerging Artist Award for 2020, indulge in a 7-course dinner by Goa’s Masterchef, Avinash Martins, participate in Art Night, rock to Aviv Projekt, or relish in a ‘Bottomless Brunch’ with the sounds of Brazillian Samba by Sambucada. All of this is happening at Villa 259 Taproom & Eatery in Assagao so make sure to add this celebration of the arts to your calendar if you happen to be in Goa.
You can check out the entire list of events here.
If you enjoyed reading this article, we also suggest: