Issue of January 5, 2020
     
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Baguio must learn from Kaohsiung’s rich art scene
by Harley F. Palangchao

 

If there is one place that the members of the Baguio Arts and Creative Council (BACC) have to visit for benchmarking, the southern city of Kaohsiung in Taiwan is an ideal place to be recommended to them.

This as the Taiwan government did not hesitate to infuse huge funds for the propagation of art and the cultural identity of its citizens to build the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, also known as Weiwuying in Kaohsiung.

But outside the world’s biggest performance art center are several sites where street art flourishes, as the Kaohsiung City council expressed full support to the public by adopting a policy enhancing the city’s urban environment with vibrant street art.

One of the most prominent sites of street art is Pier 2 Art Center, the site of the first major sanctioned graffiti space in Kaohsiung.

 

The place has cemented Kaohsiung’s reputation as one the best cities in Asia for street art with several buildings turned vibrant with sanctioned graffiti. This industrial railroad has become an open-air museum and public art space with restaurants, coffee shops, galleries, boutiques, and exhibition halls nearby.

The once-empty warehouses were also converted into huge canvases for local street artists and painters to showcase their talents.

Other sites of street art are the Qianjin District located at the central part of the city.

Another famous site is the Lingya District Street Art Center where large murals also abound. 

With this, the BACC, including those promoting street and chalk art along Session Road, should consider visiting Kaohsiung for exposure in line with the city’s bid to sustain its status as a member of the Unesco Creative Cities Network.

Baguio City was designated as a “Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in 2017, the first of its kind in the Philippines.

 

The past months saw the explosion of art in Baguio from the Pamana mural along Naguilian Road to a series of chalk art along the city’s busiest thoroughfare, Session Road, and the recent Ibagiw Festival at the historic Diplomat Hotel, now Baguio Heritage Hill and Natural Park.

But there remain challenges and rooms for improvement to sustain Baguio’s status when those concerned will learn from Kaohsiung’s rich art scene.

Travel to Kaohsiung has been made easy by budget-carrier AirAsia, which flights via Manila, Cebu and Clark airports.  For tourists from Northern Luzon who wish to visit this city, AirAsia flies three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) from Clark at a minimal air fare.

 


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