Art Dec

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION - [email protected]­hoo.com

We came last Thurs­day to the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines in Dil­i­man, Que­zon City, at the time when the whole cam­pus was still griev­ing over the loss of its bas­ket­ball var­sity team, the Fight­ing Ma­roons, to the Ate­neo de Manila’s Blue Ea­gles in the 2018 fi­nals of the Univer­sity Ath­let­ics As­so­ci­a­tion of the Philip­pines (UAAP). Yet, life goes on in the coun­try’s pre­mier state univer­sity where peo­ple would rather like to think that there are things more worth fight­ing for than some sports game.

Among them is art. And as the state of its pro­mo­tion and ped­a­gogy in the Philip­pines face­morechal­lenges­these­dayswith­there­cent shift to the K-12 sys­tem, a group of artists and art ed­u­ca­tors from dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try gath­ered here in the UP Col­lege of Fine Arts for the sec­ond Art­ways 101, the an­nual con­fer­ence of the Coun­cil of Vis­ual Arts and De­sign Ed­u­ca­tors (Art Dec).

Art Dec was cre­ated in 2012 by a group of art ed­u­ca­tors rep­re­sent­ing var­i­ous schools in the coun­try of­fer­ing fine arts and de­sign pro­grams in the higher ed­u­ca­tion level to dis­cuss how they could re­spond to the ma­jor changes and is­sues in art in­struc­tion brought about by the K12 pro­gram. They also felt that they needed to dis­cuss how the academe should com­ply with re­quire­ments and stan­dards pre­scribed by the Com­mis­sion on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion.

One of the prob­lems was how higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions would have to adapt their cur­ric­ula and pro­grams to cor­re­spond and align with changes in the el­e­men­tary and se­condary level art in­struc­tion, par­tic­u­larly in the se­nior high level. In the new sys­tem that aimed to com­ply with global stan­dards, se­nior high stu­dents may take up art and de­sign track, where they learn ba­sic art ap­pre­ci­a­tion and tech­niques, enough skills to pur­sue an art ca­reer even if they choose not to pro­ceed to col­lege.

But if they do so, they will have to en­ter a cur­ricu­lum that is sup­posed to not only wi­den their skills sets in art and de­sign pro­duc­tion but also train them to be “think­ing” artists who are re­spon­sive to lo­cal and global is­sues on art his­tory, aes­thet­ics, and the var­i­ous so­cial and political prob­lems af­fect­ing art and de­sign prac­tice

The Art Ways con­fer­ence is an oc­ca­sion where art ed­u­ca­tors from var­i­ous col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties meet to dis­cuss these is­sues and take part in work­shops that would en­hance their own skills as both artists and teach­ers.

It’s the first time that I at­tended the Art Ways con­fer­ence which was held last Thurs­day and Fri­day at UP. This year’s talks delve into na­tive liv­ing tra­di­tions in Philip­pine art, art teach­ing strate­gies in the age of the on­line open univer­sity, and com­mu­nity-ori­ented re­search in­flu­enced by trends and the­o­ries of con­tem­po­rary art.

Par­tic­i­pants in this year’s Art Ways were also re­quired to join work­shops in print­mak­ing, ce­ram­ics, laser cut­ting, and art pho­tog­ra­phy us­ing an­cient dark­room tech­niques. An ex­hibit show­cas­ing work by both men­tors and par­tic­i­pants was also held out­side of the con­fer­ence room.

Or­ga­niz­ers of the Art Dec hope that the art ed­u­ca­tors who took part in the con­fer­ence will be able to ap­ply what they learned to their own classes once they re­turn to their re­spec­tive schools. They also hope that the par­tic­i­pants will be able to bring the de­bates on the var­i­ous is­sues of art and art ed­u­ca­tion in the Philip­pines to their own class­rooms or fac­ulty of­fices. In this way, they would be able to in­flu­ence how their poli­cies and pro­grams are shaped to ad­dress the chang­ing land­scape of the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem and the so­cial and eco­nomic prob­lems it is sup­posed to ad­dress.

Art Dec is still a small group with very lit­tle fund­ing and sup­port from the gov­ern­ment but it is al­ready mak­ing a big con­tri­bu­tion in how the art is go­ing to be taught at the col­leges as part of the so-called ed­u­ca­tion rev­o­lu­tion in the Philip­pines.

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