The painting plein air “Bozhentsi” has its beginning in 1975 as an international event. With short interruptions it carries on until today. It is organized in the unique architectural historical reserve in the village of Bozhentsi in the central Balkan mountains, near Gabrovo.
The tradition has been broken twice, when the hosting was delegated once to the ethnographic open air museum “Etara”, and once to the Sokolsky monastery.
During the years the organization was mostly carried on by the group of Gabrovo artists. The names of Nikola Nikolov, Ivan Kanchev, Ivan Hristov – Groga, Mincho Minchev and many other famous people from Gabrovo It takes place during the autumn, and since the year of 1977, a parallel spring edition starts, in which young authors participate. The event is in the beginning of april – during the spring vacation of the students. The first participants in the so called “youth plein air” were: Iordan Lazarov, Dimitrinka Grancharova, Tsvetan Kolev, Dianko Kolev, Ivan Kanchev, Ivan Tsachev, Amalia Mincheva, Mincho Minchev, Ivan Barakov, Ivan Bankov, Ema Verterova and Tsetsa Velikova.
The painting plein air “Bozhentsi” is of a great importance to the Gabrovo gallery, because through it, a rich collection of contemporary international art is formed in its fund. The authors, are mainly European, representative of different movements, expressing the most characteristic, artistic visions from the respective national schools. In Bozhentsi, there were artists with a bright invention, some of which, with an avant-garde approach.
The purpose of the plein air is to conduct an exchange between artists from different countries, art schools and tendencies.
Every edition ends with an exhibition of the artworks in the “Hristo Tsokev” art gallery.