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Art in the Park: It will be like a treasure hunt

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“SEEK,” by Iyan de Jesus

What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon or evening than sipping wine, nibbling on treats and strolling in the park amid works of art?

On Saturday, art lovers of all stripes can enjoy Art in the Park—the premier, affordable art fair where more than 40 galleries will present original pieces on the grounds of Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village, Makati. Now on its seventh year, the fair has grown from a small, three-tent event into one of the most anticipated dates on Manila’s cultural calendar.

“No one thought it would grow so fast. This year we have 43 booths, but some of them had to double up,” remarked Trickie C. Lopa, one of the fair’s original founders. “It goes to show that people are making good art [in the Philippines] and there is an audience for them.”

As the primary fundraising event for the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, Art in the Park is an annual success, but much to its organizers’ delight, the fair has exceeded its mandate and has become an incubator for up-and-coming artists and nascent art collectors.

“PLUM Ponderings,” by Marika Constantino

“It’s a microcosm of everything that is happening in the visual arts community. It’s a great way for young people interested in art to learn in a way that is not intimidating,” Lopa explained, citing the relaxed, informal vibe at Art in the Park. She emphasized that nothing is priced above P30,000, including works by established artists, and many other pieces are even well below that amount.

Lopa noted that the organizers try to incorporate new artists every year, with many coming from outside Manila, like Cebu, Bohol, Malabon and Baguio. Works include not only paintings and sculptures, but also collectibles and wearable art, highlighting Art in the Park’s inclusive nature. “It’s like a treasure hunt—you don’t know what you are going to find,” she said. But you may want to have a headstart: According to organizing committee member Nanoy Reyes, serious buyers usually arrive first and start snapping up pieces. “You’ll see a lot of red ‘reserved’ tags all over [by late afternoon]!”

Even if that perfect piece of art eludes fair-goers, there are plenty of other attractions at this year’s Art in the Park. The artists’ collective 98B will have a pop-up space by the playground and will conduct a mini-raffle of members’ artworks. Concessionaires will sell wine, beer and soft drinks, as well as Filipino specialty foods such as bagnet, bibingka, balut and taho, which guests can enjoy while listening to live music.

“ENTWINE,” by JoyMallari

Lopa and her fellow organizers are thrilled with the fair’s successful growth. “We started in 2006 with only 12 participants. Now, we have a waiting list and we’re pretty much bursting at the seams,” she said happily. Not to worry, there are no plans to move the art out of the park any time soon.

Art in the Park 2013 will be open Saturday from 2 p.m. until midnight. For more information, call 4042685, e-mail inquiry@museumfoundationph.org or visit its Facebook page.


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