Issue of February 11, 2018
     
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Baguio artists mull capturing more fields in UNESCO body
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

The recent distinction of Baguio as a UNESCO Creative City has rekindled the creative juices of the local art industry, while the need to sustain such an honor and eyeing more fields in the Unesco Creative Cities Network present further challenge to the stakeholders.

Since October last year when UCCN bestowed the Creative City for Crafts and Folk Arts title to Baguio, there have been renewed interest among local artists to be more active and among the young ones to engage in the field, according to Roland Bay-an, a homegrown visual art veteran and a member of Pasa-Kalye Art Circle.

He said young artists and artisans, particularly on crafts, are starting to feel more empowered in expressing their talent, which, he believes would generate more interest and support to the industry Baguio has long been a home for, and finally recognized.

Bay-an, who has been giving free lessons and advice to raw talents, said more groups and individuals have also started showing support to Pasa-Kalye artists through invitations for exhibits and for them to conduct art workshops.

He observed that appreciation of arts in all aspects is gradually starting to climb some notches and so it would be helpful if awareness on its importance would also improve.

Bay-an is among the Baguio artists who are showcasing the “best of the best” crafts and folks arts of Baguio and Cordillera at the Malcolm Square, where the Creative Baguio Exhibition Hub is staged from Feb. 11 to 24 in honor of the city’s Unesco distinction that is now the banner of the 23rd Panagbenga Festival: “Celebration of Culture and Creativity.”

Maricar Docyogen, one of those who helped in the endorsement of Baguio to the Unesco led by the city government and the Department of Tourism Cordillera, said it is important now for the city government, concerned government agencies, private sector, and the Baguio community to work in maintaining the title, which is subject for review in four years.

She said they are also working on coming up with a directory of artists in the city so that all of them will have the opportunities to what can be done and for them to be able to work together.

Since Baguio is also host for Cordillera and other cuisines, architecture, and hub for literati, Docyogen said they also plan to bid in the UCCN fields of design, gastronomy, and literature. Other fields are Media Arts, Film, and Music.

“We have started the ball rolling so that we could have better preparation and strong bid in four years,” Docyogen said.

To be able to renew its standing in the UCCN, she suggested for the government to craft definite and concrete programs for art and help artists have in national and international markets.

Agencies like the Department of Science and Technology could help in the design and packaging, especially for crafts quality and presentation; the Department of Trade and Industry for labeling, branding, and packaging; and other agencies in the promotion of the industry.

She said the private sector should help by accommodating artists and their exhibits, adding art in their promotions, and giving artists professional remuneration.

The community should also support by patronizing local art and bringing them inside their homes.

The Pasa-Kalye Art Circle, which Docyogen helped put up to promote local artworks, aims to take out the notion that all artworks are expensive or priced based on the artist’s level of fame.

“We still need to educate the public that art, including those of the unknown and the young ones, is a form of investment, because we are sure it will become something of value after a time,” she added.


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