Helping young Pinoy artists

- Dot Ramos Balasbas-Gancayco -

MANILA, Philippines - I find it truly inspiring to see so many Filipinos passionately involving themselves in causes that will make Filipino lives better. And I find it even more awesome when these people are adolescents who, instead of idling their time with typical childhood stuff, are immersing themselves into meaningful projects that could really have a great impact on the development of this country and its people. Such is the kind of 17-year-old Sam Concepcion, the Department of Education (DepEd) Youth Spokesperson and Role Model, as he now embarks on a new advocacy of helping budding Filipino artists and promoting the protection of environment as the new endorser of the 2009 Paper Clay Nationwide Art Competition Husay ng Batang Pinoy with the theme Ako Para Sa Kalikasan (running from October 2009 to February 2010). Although Sam is more into the performing arts and not the visual arts, he is wholeheartedly supporting the project because of the many ways Paper Clay Art will be able to help develop students and how this art competition can showcase the talents and skills of young Filipino artists to the world through the Guinness World Records and other means.

Being an avid art collector myself, I was truly curious of what paper clay was all about. At the highly educational and yet enjoyable Manila Ocean Park (which all readers must visit with their kids, nephews, nieces, grandchildren and great grandchildren, hahaha) where the launching of the project was appropriately held, I was so happy to learn that the Paper Clay Art that everyone was excited about was the new textured art that my 14-year-old daughter Mika has gone crazy over for the past two years. I remember her doing about five beautiful paper clay artworks just last summer (it didn’t hurt the pocket as the materials are inexpensive) which I have proudly shown to my friends and relatives. Much to my pleasant surprise, I found out that this is a totally Filipino invention, is environment-friendly, very safe for kids, and could even be a great bonding activity for the whole family.

JNBM Amazing Arts Phils. operations manager Sue Morales (who invented the non-traditional art medium together with her daughter during a bonding period a few years back) recalls that it was not so easy in the beginning. “At first, we even thought of closing our Art Café shop because the return of investment was not as we expected, but then we decided to persevere because of the support of so many people who thought that it was a worthwhile endeavor,” Sue shares. Now, the support is coming even from unexpected sectors of the society. The DepEd has put its stamp on the Paper Clay Art Competition and is at the forefront of the participation of grade schools and high schools nationwide. Even the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) has given its imprimatur on the project. My good friend Buds Convocar, AAP present president, says, “the Paper Clay Art Competition is a very good way of introducing art to the young. We can see that a lot of young people are interested in it. There is that element of fun and, yes, as has been proven, it could be a good family bonding activity.” Giovanni dela Rosa, AAP member and son of Filipino artist Ibarra dela Rosa, said during the launching that paper clay can even be mixed with other art media and can be preserved by applying acrylic emulsion. Apart from the AAP, another partner in this endeavor is the Have a Heart Foundation, which promotes the advocacy of Integrating Values through Art Communications (IVAC).

Sam, who I believe is perfect as the endorser of the project with his wholesome image, shares that a very important component of this endeavor which makes it very close to his heart is its capability of helping and contributing to the preservation of the environment. “Typhoon Ondoy should be a wake-up call to all of us that it is time to really take care of our environment,” Sam declares. “Each of us should do our part and I am most fortunate to be involved in something that will not only help protect the environment but also develop young Filipino artists as well.” Indeed, a great endorser for a great project.

(For those who want to help build houses for the poor through the Gawad Kalinga, call 718-1738 to 41 or text 0917-5239777. E-mail me at [email protected] or text 0927-5000833.)

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