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Davao Art Summit 2019: Envisioning an artist federation

Davao artists to form an artist federation.

They’re getting organized! The visual artists of Davao City held the first ever Art Summit Davao 2019 last Nov. 9 at the Hebron Sanctuary Workshops and Trainings. This summit has been planned since late last year. A group of concerned artists thought of the idea to be able to unite Davao visual artists.

This group of senior artists has witnessed and has gone through the challenges that befall those who chose this profession. One major concern is the branding and marketing. Some have been doing this successfully but a lot of young and budding artists have no clue where to start. Another issue that needs to be addressed is professionalizing the industry. There have been a lot of abuses and malpractice in the creating, selling and showcasing of artworks. Thus, creating a legal entity that can assist artists in their careers has been a long awaited if not delayed development in the art scene.

So many benefits were threshed out that the urgency to have a summit became very feasible and necessary. The creation of a federation has been the major concern of the core group whose members are: Victor Secuya, Alex Alagon, Arnel Villegas, Dinky and Queenie Munda, Brando Cedeno, Amanda Fe Echevarria, and Arnel Villegas.

Group workshop facilitated by Vic Secuya

After several consultative meetings, the group decided to hold the summit. Invitations were sent out to artist groups and 15 groups responded by sending representatives to the summit. The groups who made it were: Davao Watercolor Society, Pintanao, Gama, Piguras, Tabularasa, Bai Hinang, Art Pavilion, Guhit Pinas, UM Artists, Bintana Gallery, Toastmaster Artists, Artist Initiative, Durian Artist Collective and Floral Artists. A total of 33 artists attended.

They not only shared their ideas, but also took time to get to know each other during the morning session and over the potluck lunch.
The facilitator, Victor Secuya, made it a point to give the artists a time for sharing their art journey. This gave the participants a better understanding of each other’s context. What followed was an open circle brainstorming where participants were divided into four groups. Each group was assigned a distinct topic revolving around the federation’s role and functions. Each group then gave a report about their output.
The first group talked about the unification of Davao artists.

An art journey could also be paved with joy and laughter.

*The first priority for Davao artists is to establish strong ties with the local government’s Art Council. *This will help legitimize the group as well as strengthen its support system.

*Artist Federation will function as an umbrella organization for Davao art groups.

*All future events such as exhibits and workshops should have a centralized avenue for making announcements.

The second group whose topic was venues and marketing, gave a feedback with a 10-year timeline in mind. Their list of goals is listed below:

*Create a directory of artists, buyers and art collectors.

*Get in touch with art Galleries and establish a collaborative agreement with them.
*Get national and local funding.

*Organize and ART TOUR|ART WALK and a DAVAO ART FESTIVAL.

*Establish a CULTURAL HUB, wherein the main goal is to identify DAVAO IDENTITY.

* Recommend and encourage artists to have their art studios and hold open studio events every so often.

*Assist art groups to organize art exhibits in galleries and other alternative art spaces.

Workshop facilitated by Dinky Munda

*Establish a Federation Hub: a space with art studios and a gallery. Federation members will get privileges and access to suppliers and service providers.

The third group discussed the struggles of female artists in the Davao Art Scene. They expressed their desire to have stronger support from other artists. This is a reaction to the fact that there are only a few female artists who have become established artists in the city. Many female artists fall in the cracks due to family life demands and the lack of support. The female artists of Davao desire to be considered as equally valid and able an artist as that of the other gender.

The fourth and last group expressed their concern regarding the lack of training given to Art Teachers in the primary, secondary and even tertiary level of education. These are the recommendations they have for the federation to address this concern.

*Propose a more in-depth art education training for teachers to DepEd.

*Motivate practicing artist to pursue further training. Find more opportunities for training.

*Form a pool of resource speakers and instructors to share their art expertise and give workshops and training sessions.

*Organize sharing workshops amongst artists.

*Have a list of senior artists open to have consultation with younger artists.
*Look for art critics who can write about the artists.

Workshop group with Rob Tañedo, Daryl Descallar, Brando Cedeno and George Abaigar

*Inform schools and other relevant institutions of shows, workshops and exhibits.
*Establish a profit-sharing scheme for artists and galleries.

*There should be a registration fee and an annual membership fee.

After the reports, Dexter Tanedo gave an educational input regarding the Intellectual Property Rights of artists. He also expounded on the rules and ethics regarding the use of cultural groups’ imagery, a topic that the group agreed to be delved on more deeply in future workshops.

The event concluded with a vote. They unanimously voted to begin the leg and paperwork required to make the Davao Artist Federation a legal entity within the city. Everyone went home hopeful and encouraged.

Finally, Davao Artists can see the brightening of the light at the end of the tunnel.

By Amanda Fe Echevarria

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