It’s National Arts Month: Appreciate the power of art

Have you brought a child – perhaps yours – to an art gallery, theater, concert or music festival?
It would be good to plan a trip like that soon as your way to celebrate National Arts Month, a special time for us to appreciate art, reflect on its significance, and pay tribute to our artists.

Bringing a child to an art gallery – or to watch a theater production, or a concert –will not only introduce him or her to the art form, it will open a child’s mind to think, or feel, what the art piece conveys. That is the power of art – it can move one to think, feel, and act.

February is National Arts Month (NAM), declared through Presidential Proclamation 683 and signed by former President Corazon C. Aquino in 1991 “to celebrate the artistic excellence and pay tribute to the uniqueness and diversity of the Filipino heritage and culture.”

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is the government agency that organizes activities to celebrate NAM. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Ani ng Sining, Bunga ng Galing” “to immerse Filipinos in diverse cultural expressions and celebrate the bountiful harvest from the Filipino imagination.”

“In celebrating National Arts Month in 2023, “galing” alludes to artistic excellence as well as underscoring the capacity of the arts to heal, rebuild, and restore in a post-pandemic setting,” the NCCA said.

As in previous years, activities for NAM are many and this year those will be held up to March, with the flagship projects of the Subcommission on the Arts (SCA):

For Architecture and Allied Arts, the “Saan Ka Lulugar” will be a discussion on resiliency in the built and designed environment with planning and design professionals, academicians, students, and the public, through webinars, exhibitions, and walking tours.

For Cinema, the “Cinema Rehiyon 15” will present the best of more recent regional films coming from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, with “special emphasis on films with social commentary and historical memory.”

For Dance, the celebration will be featured by “Sayaw Pinoy,” a touring dance concert which aims to provide a venue for dance groups to exchange choreographic ideas. It was held in Zamboanga Feb. 2-4, and the following weekends in Manila, Kalibo, San Fernando, Mabalacat and Bacolod.

For Dramatic Arts, the celebration will be highlighted by the 17th Tanghal, composed of live and online theater performances to recognize the artistic excellence of practitioners and the “role that theater communities play in social and environmental challenges in improving the community life of the Filipino people.”

For Literary Arts, “Panitikan ng Panumduman” will discuss the literature of memory to “deepen our understanding of memory.”

Celebrating Music will be “Musikapuluan: Mga Bagong Tugtugin Natin” that will provide a venue for different music forms and genres from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao.

For Visual Arts, “Bagong Biswal” will celebrate Filipino art featuring videos from artists with community engagements related to various visual arts, such as painting workshops, sculpture projects, public art installations, public performance art, and art education campaigns.

There are many activities to open the mind, bring delight, and inspire creativity. Bringing a child to the art gallery will be a good start.

Take a break from the usual and pause to appreciate the power of art. Make a Sunday in February your own tribute to art.