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MY ART THOUGHTS | Fostering tourism through arts

THE NURTURING of creativity and the presence of art in any locality has a profound impact on tourism. It’s no surprise that places like Europe, America, Hong Kong, and Singapore boast thriving tourism because a lot of tourists want to visit art spaces, galleries, museums, and theaters. All these spaces are run by artistic communities and are steaming with inspiration from the myriad artworks on display. This phenomenon isn’t limited to visual arts; it extends to all creative forms, including music and performance arts.

Behind this flourishing art scene are dedicated individuals and groups who tirelessly champion the cause of art. They not only create art but also foster its dissemination within their communities. However, artists cannot thrive without an audience. Sustaining artistic work hinges on having people wanting their works, patrons, and the major supporters of the arts are typically government bodies and private enterprises. 

Without their collaboration, artists are left to rely on sporadic individual buyers, mostly friends, which is a limited and unsustainable source of living. This financial strain can lead many artists to abandon their craft in pursuit of more financially viable careers. When government and private sector stakeholders lack an appreciation for the arts, it is often because they grew up in environments devoid of art. This unfortunate cycle impedes the growth of creative individuals and contributes to the decline of the arts in many places.

This concern has far-reaching consequences, such as universities discontinuing their Fine Arts courses due to dwindling enrollments. Self-taught artists also find it increasingly challenging to sustain their artistic pursuits due to a lack of patrons. Consequently, the local art scene in such places becomes lackluster and obscured, perpetuating the cycle.

Solving this complex issue is not as simple as issuing commands to government officials or corporate leaders to support the arts. It necessitates a genuine understanding of the significance of the arts and a commitment to support the local art scene, rather than mere photo opportunities with artists for public relations purposes. The implementation of practical, effective local art ordinances and genuine art programs is crucial, not just for compliance, but to genuinely nurture the arts.

This is why I am fervently advocating for the establishment of a Barangay Arts Council in every barangay. I firmly believe that art awareness is not the exclusive domain of the intellectual elites but should be accessible to everyone, including the masses at the grassroots level by promoting art awareness through well-structured programs and engaging activities within the barangay. Through the collaboration of our local barangay leaders and resident artists, we can unlock the hidden artistic potential in our communities. This, in turn, could lead to the emergence of a thriving and vibrant art scene within each barangay and perhaps throughout the city as well. 

These grassroots initiatives may slowly attract the attention of local governments and businesses. They might recognize the cultural and economic value of a vibrant arts scene, leading them to provide the much-needed support. While this path is toilsome and may take time, it can be a potent catalyst for change, demonstrating the essential role of the arts in enriching a community.

But here is the dilemma of whether a young, emerging artist should achieve fame first before gaining recognition from those in positions of influence, or whether those in power should proactively support the development of young artists, remains a critical question. This riddle reflects the interconnected relationship between art, recognition, and community development.

Indeed the presence of arts is not an exclusive luxury to behold but a fundamental element of a thriving society. To break the cycle of dwindling art scenes in our city, genuine understanding, support, and proactive efforts from both artists and community leaders are vital. Through this collaborative effort, we can transform our city into a vibrant hub of artistic expression, igniting creativity and creating a captivating environment that draws visitors from afar. This, in turn, bolsters tourism, breathing hope of life into local businesses, and contributing to the overall prosperity of our community.



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