By Ibarra C. Mateo
In full force, after more than two years of being closed due to the Covid19 pandemic, the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ board of trustees, senior executive officials, and employees welcomed the local media on May 4 to announce the CCP’s re-opening to the public soon.
“For the past two years, the CCP venues were shut down, but we have not stopped working. We’ve been running non-stop for the past years, continuing our mandate to bring arts closer to the people and provide educational and cultural contents through various digital platforms,” Margie Moran-Floirendo, chairperson of the CCP Board of Trustees, said.
In her welcome remarks, Moran-Floirendo said: “In the past years, we innovated. We adapted. We evolved.”
“2022 will be a year for recovery. It will be a year when we march on to better normal and create a better future for our nation. We don’t know the long-term effects of the pandemic to the arts communities and our audiences. But this is the year we soldier on,” she said.
During the height of the pandemic, the CCP board initiated projects, such as the CCP Professional Dance support program, which assisted displaced dancers in classical and modern ballet.
In 2021, the support program provided 31 scholarships to 14 professional dancers and choreographers in Metro Manila and the regions, as well as job opportunities for displaced independent video-film artists, crew, and theater practitioners.
“New choreographies were created, classical ballet pieces were re-staged. We were able to produce a video series, ‘Dance On!,’ that showcased and premiered these dances online. We also had a live performance featuring these professional dancers, titled ‘A Christmas Celebration’,” she said.
CCP Professional Dance support program
To extend support to more artists, Moran-Floirendo announced that the CCP Professional Dance support program is being renamed and expanded.
“We rebranded it to Professional Artists Support Program, and we hope to sustain the artistic excellence and livelihood of professional artists in the Philippines. (not only) professional dancers, but other artists as well,” she said.
The CCP Innovation Grants have been awarded to encourage creative initiatives and collaborations among arts and cultural organizations. Seven art companies received grants, namely Ballet Manila, Casa San Miguel, FilDocs, Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges, Marbel, Sipat Lawin, and The Performance Laboratory and Tuldok Animation Studios.
CCP Innovation Grants
Through the CCP Innovation Grants, the seven grantees have come up with alternative ways to produce new works by merging various art disciplines and distributing contents using digital techologies.
“We also discovered upcoming young musicians through the Kanto Canta, an online brand competition. We received submissions from all over the country. We pre-selected 45 entries, before shortlisting the 15 finalists,” she said.
The songs from the winners from Cagayan province, La Union, Las Pinas City, Lanao del Norte and Taguig City, along with the rest of the finalists, are now available on various music platforms. The grand winner, Letrang Norte, was part of the holiday album released by Widescope Entertainment, the CCP partner for this competition.
As to the forthcoming programs and productions, Moran-Floirendo announced the rolling out of “Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang,” a project which aims to preserve literary arts through animation and multimedia arts.
“We expand our programs to younger audience, in support of the holistic development of children through the use of music and the arts. We plan to launch a program on Indigenous Lullabies to preserve these lullabies and bring awareness to our traditional songs,” she said.
Moran-Floirendo said the CCP has a series of activities geared toward developing instructional films on Philippine folk dances for arts appreciation, teacher training and learning resources. This particular series will cover dance’s history, costume, music, movement and the total performance.
“We hope to promote awareness of Filipino folk dances through social media platforms,” she said.
“This is definitely going to be a very busy year,” she said.
Appeal to media for support
For his part, CCP President Arsenio J. Lizaso said
in spite of the limitations and strict protocols, the CCP “managed to find ways to ensure that our programs and events continue, either in a hybrid set up or through online platforms.”
“We are eager to undertake our mission not only to make art matter, but to make art work in the life of the Filipino,” Lizaso said, in his address.
“Tulungan ninyo po kami na maipaalam sa mga manonood na bukas na muli ang CCP,” he appealed to journalists present.
Ongoing CCP exhibits
The public can view the following exhibits for free: an exhibit featuring the works of Fernando Amorsolo, created using Lego at the Little Theater Lobby and the Kaingin art installation by Jinggoy Buensuceso, at the CCP Front Lawn. This installation is a part of the Earth Month celebration.
New CCP Black Box Theater
Chris B. Millado, CCP vice president and artistic director, said per year the center was closed, it lost PhP 34-35 million in revenues from ticket sales, and about 800,000 theater-goers have been unable to access the CCP venues.
Millado also announced during the press launch events headlining the much-anticipated opening of the New CCP Black Box Theater.
For the inaugural season of the New CCP Black Box Theater, Millado said the following productions have been programmed: “Anak Datu,” a production based on the life and writings of National Artist for Sculpture Abdulmari Imao; experimental works-collaborations with an unnamed theater company to be directed by Tanghalang Pilipino’s Founding Artistic Director Felix Nonon Padilla; and a Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra chamber music series.
Millado emphasized that a chamber music series has been included in the inaugural program of the New Black Box Theater “to try out the acoustic quality of the new theater.” ##