2020 National Arts Month: “Ani ng Sining” for Future Generations

In order to survive, the arts must reinvent itself and find a place in today’s digital age. Essential to the success of arts in the future is the passing of wisdom, knowledge, talent and passion to the younger generation, with the intent of preserving local endeavours making the arts more appealing to a wider audience.

The National Arts Month is celebrated every February of each year by virtue of Proclamation No. 683 of 1991.

The theme for this year's celebration is "Ani ng Sining," which emphasizes the richness of artistic endeavours in the country and the passion of Filipino artists and cultural workers. A series of events were lined up for the month featuring exhibits, workshops, shows, concerts, lectures, tours and others in seven fields of the arts. These events are aimed at showcasing the richness of the country's artistry and heritage of local communities while supporting and empowering artists in these communities.

The development of the arts in any country is typically tied up to its socio-economic performance. In Europe, art events are typically patronized by the general public, as evidenced by the large crowds who come to see popular opera shows, musical plays and concerts. In the Philippines, foreign acts and artists continue to dominate the concert scene, though some local artists and shows have generated significant appeal due to social media and other online platforms. What seems to be lost today is the appreciation of indigenous art, particularly those that are culturally engrained among our local tribes and ethnic groups.

Efforts have been made to bring arts closer to the people and promote greater consciousness and awareness among our youth when it comes to local arts. A couple of years back, the entrance to the National Museum was made permanently free to encourage more Filipino and foreign visitors to come and see the work of our local artists. There was also a significant reduction in entrance fees for several sites in Intramuros to entice locals to visit heritage sites such as Fort Santiago, among others.

Art appreciation is also continuously taught in colleges/universities. However, it seems that it does not help in the preservation of local artistic endeavours, particularly those that highlight ancestral practices and culturally important artistic activities.

The seeming lack of consciousness and awareness has somehow translated to a declining interest of young Filipinos to become professionals in the field of arts. Furthermore, the notion that there is no money in the arts continue to dissuade students from taking courses related to the arts. Sadly, many of those who were originally enthused in arts have suddenly shifted their attention to more 'profitable' professions, leaving the arts in the hands of a few and to old vanguards.

In order to survive, the arts must reinvent itself and find a place in today’s digital age. Essential to the success of arts in the future is the passing of wisdom, knowledge, talent and passion to the younger generation, with the intent of preserving local endeavours making the arts more appealing to a wider audience.

The greatest harvest that the arts of the past and present can produce is a deeper sense of nationalism and love for country. Hopefully, this sense of nationalism resonates to a greater segment of our youth to entice them to become artists of today and art icons of the future.

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About the Author
Mr. Aaron Benedict De Leon is currently a Business Development Practitioner in a private consulting firm. He has more than six years of professional experience in leading and managing political and non-government organizations, specializing in organizational management, policy development and program management. He has had stints with notable political/socio-civic organizations, serving in various capacities as: Secretary-General of the Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP) [2013-2015], Founding Chairperson of the Centrist Democratic Youth Association of the Philippines (CDYAP) [2012-2014], Philippine Representative to the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) [2011-2012], Chairperson of the Christian Democratic Youth [2011-2012], Secretary-General of YOUTH Philippines [2010-2011], and Spokesperson/Communications Director of the GT2010 Gilbert Teodoro Presidential Campaign [2009-2010].
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