Bellas Artes inspires Filipino artists

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WHILE New San Jose Builders Inc.’s top honcho Jose Acuzar is known to restore old houses at Casas de Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan, his daughter Jam is pursuing in helping artists promote their work through exhibits.

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In 2013, Jam founded Bellas Artes. The organization was inspired by the Escuela de Bellas Artes, one of the oldest fine-arts schools in the Philippines, which has produced some of the country’s greatest painters, such as Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo.

The original house of the school was located in Quiapo and later became part of the older Acuzar’s collection in Bataan.

After she came back from the United Kingdom in 2013, Acuzar decided to dabble in art as part of her extra activity from work. She thought that bringing contemporary art to the space would be a good idea. At first, Acuzar collected artworks but later realized her heart was into supporting artists to promote their works, because it delivers more impact to support projects throughout the Philippines. “There is still lack of support for art projects,” Acuzar said in a recent interview with the BusinessMirror.

“Our experience with museums is not bright as compared to other cultures because we do not have a museum culture,” Acuzar added.

When she realized she did not want to collect art, Acuzar started to organize arts events in Bataan by getting help from her friends, working with craftsman and using the spaces in the Bellas Artes building to exhibit their work.

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Later, Acuzar and her group decided to turn the house into artists’ residences so they can have time to focus on their exhibits. Because of her job in the construction and property development business of the family, Acuzar had a difficult time attending to her art advocacy. Nevertheless, she was determined to pursue her advocacy.

In 2016, Bellas Artes was established as a foundation which is non-commercial and non-profit. Acuzar hopes the Bellas Artes Projects (BAP) to make Bataan as an art center to promote the craftsmanship that it has fostered. “We realized there is so much if we bring them there,” she said.

It also plans to create space for writers so they can experiment, feel and show their work. Moreover, the foundation subsidizes their production and research during their two-week stay in Bagac, Bataan.

To broaden their research options of the artists, BAP has partnered with the Ortigas Library to do research and maximize the 40,000 book titles of the facility.

Acuzar said the family likes passions to call it their personal advocacies. For Jam, it is the contemporary art. “We always argue which has brought positive developments because of constant dialogues happening,” she said.

In early 2017, BAP opened a Manila space called Bellas Artes Outpost that organizes four exhibitions a year with a free public program and reading room to inspire creative thinking and engagement with the arts. Furthermore, the outpost aims to build a new audience of art enthusiasts by engaging them with the artistic process of BAP’s artists and artisans in residence.



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