Watao Art Festival: Call for Collectives and Collabs for Site-Specific Contribution

For the next edition of the art festival, we aim for a Watou shaped by collectives and collabs, celebrating collaborative creation’s diversity and strength. The theme of this year’s open call, “The Smell of Grass is Changing”, represents the adaptation, transformation and renewal we seek in the arts, inviting reflection on our changing world and its impact on our creative process and interactions.

With this adage, internationally acclaimed artist Koen Vanmechelen, the inspirator behind Patchwwwork, the experimental precursor to the Watou Art Festival, invites artists to engage in a new unique creative journey.

Since 2021, Vanmechelen has initiated Patchwwwork as a research project, organising an in situ ‘artist’ encampment as an immersive experiment and learning process, culminating in this new call. For the next edition, we seek collectives and collabs eager to contribute to Watou’s evolution and transformation, engaging in a journey stimulating both senses and mind.

We are looking for

  • Collectives or collabs (a minimum of 3 people) to participate in the next edition of Watou Arts Festival. Selected collectives or collabs will be invited to work in situ at one of the festival locations and transform that location with site specific (indoor and/or outdoor) artistic contributions.
  • These collectives or contemporary collabs can consist of:
    • Professional collectives or collabs from various disciplines to join us in exploring the questions: How can a rural village or the countryside function as an art space or a production space? What new forms of encounter and dialogue can be created here? Artists engaged with the questions, problems and potential of this region.
    • Mixed teams with participants from fields other than visual arts are encouraged to apply. The Art Festival Watou is known as a festival where visual arts and poetry merge.
  • Collectives or collabs willing to visit the festival during the summer of 2024 (6 July – 1 September), to meet with the organization and to develop their develop their project afterwards.
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old.


  • Registration is required and must be done via this online form.
  • Deadline of registration is 31 May 2024 (12 p.m. – midnight).
  • Only after valid registration and affirmative response from the organization will you be able to participate in the next steps: visiting the arts festival during the summer of 2024 and submitting a detailed project proposal afterwards.
    • Deadline for submission of a project proposal is 15 November 2024 (12 p.m. – midnight). The proposal must be sent to kunstenfestival@poperinge.be
    • The project proposal is a PDF with a maximum number of eight pages and a maximum file size of 10 MB and must contain the following information:
      • Presentation of your collective or collab.
      • Short outline of your concept/idea for the next edition of the Arts Festival Watou (max. five sentences explaining the essence of the project and the specific site/location where you want to realize the project).
      • A detailed project proposal with a description of the project idea (art installation / interventions / works / performances / poetry, …) linked to the specific site where you want to realize your idea and a brief summary of the technical specifications.
      • Cost estimate in accordance with the selected category A or B (see renumeration).
      • Contact details (e-mail, telephone number, link to website, social media channels).


The total budget for the Open Call is 120,000 euros.

A proposal should include several realisations linked to a specific site.

As a collective/collab you can submit projects in two categories.

– Category 1: a proposal up to € 10,000
– Category 2: a proposal up to € 25,000

The lump sums stated above must include fees, production and performance costs as well as travelling expenses. These amounts are gross amounts.

Website link: https://www.kunstenfestivalwatou.be/en/

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