Iloilo’s summer arts fest 2020 is for anyone and everyone

Iloilo Summer Arts Festival logo by Vladimir Guanzon

Iloilo Summer Arts Festival logo by Vladimir Guanzon

  • Iloilo City is set for the first Iloilo Summer Arts Festival (ISAF) on April 2020.

  • ISAF 2020 will showcase different Ilonggo art forms from visual arts, literature, film, music, dance, theater, and expanding to culinary arts, horticulture, and culture in living museum.

The Iloilo City Government together with the members of the Iloilo arts and culture community has announced the holding of the first Iloilo Summer Arts Festival next year or from April to May 2020.

“Art is for everyone and anyone,” expressed Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas as the art sector clutched each other’s hands in launching the event last December 11 with the theme: Rebirth, Rediscover, and Revitalize the Arts of Iloilo or Ibalik ang Pagbun-ag, Pag-tukib, kag ang Kapagsik sang Tali-Ambong sang Iloilo in Hiligaynon language.

“The art festival will showcase what Iloilo is all about and it will provide a venue to promote the culture and art of the Ilonggo people both to locals and visitors alike,” the chief executive underscored.

ISAF 2020 intends to reconnect the Ilonggos to its traditional culture and art as a way of understanding the important role that it plays in the development of Iloilo City as a center of Western Visayas.

The logo for the ISAF 2020 was developed and conceptualized by Vladimir Jay Guanzon. It won in the logo competition because of its distinctive elements that describes the city – a seven wind and waves which symbolized Iloilo City’s seven districts and overlaid in a colorful Dinagyang Festival headdress.

In addition, Charmaine Garay’s jingle entitled: “Experience Iloilo” will be used in the campaign for the festival.

An inclusive festival

The ISAF 2020 is being envisioned as an inclusive arts affair. It won’t be an elitist event, highlighted Mayor Treñas, a welcome statement among artists across classes and orientations.

The festival is open for all, according to the members of the organizing committee, and it will ensure a multi-sectoral involvement from artists, academics, art groups, civic and service organizations, business sector and down to the barangays.

“The Festival will showcase the works of Ilonggo artists from all disciplines,” said PG Zoluaga, who is a member of the organizing committee.

Unlike numerous arts events held in the past, ISAF 2020 will be one of the broadest gathering of artists.  It will feature all forms of art: culture of living museum, horticulture and culinary arts will stand side-by-side with visual arts, music, dance, film, theater, and literature.

Iloilo becoming Ph’s arts capital

According to Mayor Treñas, the holding of ISAF 2020 will convey a message that Iloilo City can be an arts capital of the country.

In 2016, Iloilo City played as the host of the Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibit and Conference (ViVa ExCon). The conference triggered art engagement in Iloilo and the art sector flourished with art exhibits happening almost on a monthly basis and with new art spaces, galleries, and museums sprouting around town.

Artists and art aficionados from other regions has been coming back and forth to Iloilo City after seeing the revival of the Iloilo arts scene and with Ilonggo artists’ showing contemporary and award-winning art pieces.

The development of the local arts scene prompted Megaworld Corporation to establish the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA) in 2018 and which houses some of the rarest art pieces collected by Ilonggo finance honcho Edwin Valencia.

Among the major museums that were recently established is the Western Visayas Regional Museum, a century-old Iloilo Provincial Jail that underwent restoration and turned over to the National Museum. Significant artifacts on Iloilo’s economic development are also housed at the Museum of Philippine Economic History, referred before as the old Elizalde Building. Then the University of the Philippine Visayas Gallery inside the newly-restored main building at the Iloilo City campus was also opened.

Art exhibits are also held regularly at the Molo Mansion which also underwent a facelift; the Et Nos Gallery within the Angelicum School where the old Lizares Mansion is situated, and Museo Iloilo which was retained on its current location inside the Iloilo Provincial Capitol compound.

Also scattered in the new business district that is Mandurriao are galleries like the well-visited private gallery Galerie de Arsie; the Mamusa Art Bistro at the Megaworld, and Omriel Art Gallery at the Ayala Atria Park District.

Events of ISAF 2020

PG Zoluaga shared that “the whole city will become a public art hub to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.”

Based on the plan, the ISAF 2020 events will both have an outdoor and indoor events. Outdoor activities like a zarzuela at the park will be organized in various places, among them are: Sunburst Park, Esplanade beside the Iloilo River, and in heritage parks like the Plaza Libertad and Molo and Jaro Plazas.

Indoor activities will also be held inside malls with workshops and talks. It will enable new and developing artists to interact and learn from senior artists.

Build up activities for ISAF 2020 will start as early as February with a Special Arts Program on Arts Month and with the first La Via Dolorosa or the depiction of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ during the Lenten Season.

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra is expected to come back to Iloilo City for a performance during the ISAF 2020 event.

ISAF 2020 Committee members

The ISAF 2020 working committee is composed of respected artists as advisors: Ed Defensor and Manny Garibay. Mrs. Rosalie Treñas is the Chairperson and with members Raisa Treñas, Rose Arenas, and Leny Ledesma.

Sectoral representatives are Melanie Padilla and Elisa Baliao (academe); Jennifer Palmares-Fong (Megaworld); Allyn May Canja (ILOMOCA); PG Zoluaga and Miguel Antonio Davao (Music); Daniella Jullieta Caro (film); Eric Divinagracia (theater); Annie Sartorio (dance); and Tibong Jardeleza (culinary arts).

By: Ted Aldwin Ong |


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