Cebu-Cebu

Arts Council of Cebu stays true to its mission

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Sachiko Miyashita, acclaimed guitarist from Japan, performed to an enthusiastic audience at the Marcelo Fernan Cebu Press Center. She was presented by the Arts Council, the Cebu Luthiers Education Foundation and Guitar Friends. Event chair was Arts Council vice president Maxwell Espina.

At a recent meeting, president Petite Garcia announced that a major fund-raising event for the Arts Council is being planned for the middle of this year. Tentative venue is the Radisson Blu Hotel. Heading the committee are Elvira Luym, Marissa Fernan, Teresin Mendezona and Allen Tan.

A proposed event, for which a meeting will soon be scheduled, is the debut of the newly formed ballet company Metropolitan Dance Theater. Artistic director is Fe Sala Villarica who founded the Arts Council in 1960. VP Vivina Yrastorza heads the committee.

The debut program is titled “Divertissement.” Featured are selections from favorite ballets as well as modern choreography. In the near future, Villarica would like to present a full-length version of the French comic ballet “Coppelia.”

Also during the Arts Council’s recent meeting, Garcia praised trustee Allen Tan for producing an updated brochure for the organization, to instill awareness on what the Arts Council has done in 53 years. It aims to generate supportive response.

The brochure tells the Arts Council story in brief and provides insights into its past. Villarica envisioned the council to arouse the cultural consciousness of Cebuanos. It covered the seven arts—dance, music, painting, drama, literature, sculpture and architecture. Photography was added later.

In 1968, the Arts Council held a pioneering Festival of the Arts in Cebu. Through the years, the council has built a solid reputation as the premier advocate of the arts south of Manila by sponsoring performances of national and world-famous artists.

The city of Cebu in 1975 acknowledged the Arts Council for its cultural leadership as the most outstanding institution for arts and culture.

This was reaffirmed in 2000, when the Cebu-based Philippines Foundation bestowed the Perlas Award to the Arts Council as a valuable institution for developing programs and scholarships in arts, culture and theater.

On August 2, 1990, it was renamed the Arts Council of Cebu Foundation in a ceremony at the historic Casa Gorordo. That same year, it was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Consequently, it was registered as a donee institution with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

The council held a fund-raiser in 1992 to acquire a Yamaha concert grand piano. The following year, a trust fund was established to launch a scholarship program. It supports the training and tuition of performing arts scholars.

Spreading awareness for the preservation of our cultural heritage is part of the Arts Council’s mission. Likewise, it seeks to contribute to a robust civic life by presenting local, national and international artists with a reputation for excellence.

In 2010, the Arts Council marked its 50th anniversary with a series of brilliant events. One was a ballet production that showcased choreographic works by Villarica.

Another was the staging of the original Cebuano zarzuela “Mini,” written by the late governor of Cebu, Buenaventura Rodriguez. A prolific writer, he was adept in Cebuano, Spanish and English. Though written many decades ago, “Mini” had not lost its beauty and relevance.

The Arts Council upholds the belief that the arts are central to the educational, economic and cultural well-being of a fast-paced, vibrant metropolis such as Cebu. It hopes to continue serving as the No. 1 organization to foster the flourishing of art and culture in its community.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Balletcenter, founded in 1951 by Villarica, the Arts Council got involved in presenting a full-length “Sleeping Beauty” ballet with the music of Tchaikovsky and the original choreography by Marius Petipa.

It was only proper that this ballet was restaged—seven years after its last mounting—because it had been the best thing Balletcenter had produced in its 60 years of existence. Well, the 2011 restaging was simply spectacular. Ballerina Candice Adea portrayed Princess Aurora and Nicolas Pacaña was the Prince.

The Arts Council hopes to persuade the community to keep supporting its noble endeavors and sustain its activities. Culture and the arts are vital components of human experience. Our success as a civilized society hinges on the creativity of its artists.

Improving the conditions of the performing arts in Cebu calls for a massive cooperative effort that requires individuals and corporations to assume dynamic involvement.

How to help: Be lifetime members of the Arts Council for P8,000; or be a corporate member at P30,000, payable in a four-year plan. To know more, call Mariz Rallos at the Arts Council office, tel. 032-2330452; or e-mail artscouncilcebu@gmail.com.

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