Travel and Tourism

The art world gives back

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee - The Philippine Star
The art world gives back
Donations received by Perpetual Help Medical Center in Las Piñas.

Dr. Steve Lim started Art Rocks (AR) in 2012 since he wanted to offer an avenue for art-inclined doctors initially to be able to see and appreciate art in between their busy schedules. That grew when he created a private non-profit viber group for art collectors in 2015. The group’s members expanded to include celebrities, politicians and anyone who loved Philippine art.

This eventually became a platform to discuss anything art related. AR then started an annual art sale held at St. Luke’s Quezon City for the benefit of St. Luke’s Urology Alumni Association. Funds collected where used to augment the treatment and management of social service patients of the Urology Institute and contribute to continuing medical education of the urology resident doctors and consultants.

While Dr. Lim was busy being a frontliner himself during lockdown, some AR members put up another private non-profit viber group called Art for Life (AFL) for those who wanted to help out. AFL was created to augment AR and started raising funds for frontliners and families in need by accepting artwork donated by collectors, galleries and artists to raise funds for PPEs, alcohol, multivitamins, disinfectant sprays and solutions, N95 masks, surgical masks, canned goods, rice, instant noodles and other essentials.  The goal was to raise funds to provide goods for immediate distribution. Both these private viber art groups (limited to 250 members) managed to help a lot during the lockdown.

Grocery packs delivered to Cavalry Community in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

Galleries, artists and art collectors were generous. Their donated artworks were either sold outright or were up for auction.  First to give was artist Dino Gabito who coursed his donations through The Metro Gallery. His five works on paper were the first to be sold as a straight sale. Yeo Kaa’s two huge sculptures displayed at last year’s Art in the Park and a painting by Johanna Helmuth were also donated through The Metro Gallery.

Ana Bautista, Marie Saplad and Pong Bayog donated their works through DF Art Agency. Monica Delgado, Elaine Navas, Pin Calacal, Krista Noguares, JC Jacinto, Zean Cabangis and Rodel Tapaya donated through Art Informal. West Gallery’s Soler Santos donated two works of his father, Malang. Martin Honasan, Teo Esguerra, Dennis Bato, TRNZ (Terence Eduarte), Wyndelle Remonde and Nix Puno gave their works through Vinyl on Vinyl.

Manny Garibay, Max Balatbat, RG Habulan, Mark Andy Garcia, Kiko Urquiola, Othoniel Neri, Lui Manaig as well as a Yeo Kaa painting were auctioned off through Art Verite. Manuel Sintos, Annie Lascaba, Kristian Gonzalez and Darwin Guevarra gave through J Studio. Arnold Lalongisip donated through Art Underground.

Packing groceries at The Metro Kitchen.

Two works by Ang Kiukok were auctioned off through Finale Art File. Edwin Martinez, Chelsea Theodossis, Efren Carpio, Kim Jerome Santiago, Jonathan Joven, Sid Natividad and Mark Arcamo went through Ysobel Gallery. Avant Auctions gave a Bencab sketch and works by Maxine Esteban and Juliana Esteban.  Artists Elmer Borlongan, Daniel dela Cruz, Demi Padua, Kiko Capile, Brian Bernardo, Marco Bañares, Dansoy Coquilla and Heart Evangelista donated their works directly.

Proceeds from the sold artworks were donated in full. Many other artists donated but I couldn’t mention them all.

From whatever funds were available every few days, a core group procured medical and food essentials that were brought to The Metro Gallery (temporarily renamed The Metro Kitchen) where everything was sorted and packed.  All PPE and masks were shown to Dr. Lim for approval before purchase to make sure they were medical grade.

Ang Kiukok

Through referrals and connections among the group members, over 20 hospitals around the country received PPEs, masks, disinfectant sprays, multi-vitamins and face shields.  To date, roughly 2,000 bags of grocery items have been distributed to barangays in the cities of San Juan, Quezon, Makati, Muntinlupa and Taguig.

I give my admiration and respect to these artists and art collectors who have generously given their works and to these heroes, several of whom choose to be unnamed, who have given their time and effort to help their countrymen in a time of need. This silent act of selflessness from the art world has restored my faith in humanity.

Elmer Borlongan

Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee

Dino Gabito
Max Balatbat



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