Museums and Galleries: Keeping Heritage, Culture and Tourism Alive

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Monday, April 14, 2014


Creative enterprises contribute to the city’s tourism economy and development. They comprise the arts, in varied forms that utilize a creative workforce and elements. The value of the arts encompasses beyond direct economic impact and value to stakeholders. Creative and fine art, in its many, varied forms, have contributed to domestic and international tourism.

It creates a memorable travel experience for visitors as well as encourages repeated visits not only for its artistic aspect, but also because of vivid manifestation of a city’s culture and heritage.

Heritage tourism covers rudiments of living culture, history, and natural history of place. The existence of museums, galleries and exhibits remain to be key drivers of tourism development. Tourists are not only drawn to cities for entertainment, events and social offerings, but also for its communities and aesthetics. This is where arts, culture and heritage come in as tourist attractions and as a motivation for people to travel.
Galleries and exhibits for example, display varied forms of art that utilize a creative workforce and elements.

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Bencab Museum, the Baguio Museum and Tam-awan Village are only few of these local destinations that promote the city’s tourism economy and development. These creative enterprises feature artists that showcase fascinating works of visual art through photography and paintings, or via sculptures and contemporary scale models as a means to draw visitor arrivals.

They also provide revenue opportunities for local artists and hobbyists and ancillary businesses while keeping heritage and culture alive in these evolving times. Through these exhibits and galleries, we keep our history, culture and traditions alive and provide many generations a picture of our past and our present.

Baguio Museum, maintains a repository of the artifacts of different ethnolinguistic groups of the Cordilleras namely: Apayao, Mountain Province, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Kalinga, Gaddang and the Tinguian or Itneg. The museum houses collections that highlight Cordillera, with each province now having its own collections.

It has an array of collections of traditional attires, accessories, hats, baskets, musical instruments, woodcarving, jars and ceramics and weapons that dates back to the 1950s. It has four floors comprising of the NCCA Hall (basement or ground floor) for exhibits and seminar-workshops and lectures; the Cordillera floor (2nd floor) for the Cordillera artifacts, the Baguio floor (3rd floor) for Baguio historical development, leaders, founders and pictures, and the Library (4th floor) for research and alternative exhibit venue. It draws about 13,000 visitors annually.

BenCab Museum, on the other hand, has several galleries that house the permanent collection of Philippine National Artist, Benedicto Cabrera (BenCab), his paintings, his collections of indigenous Cordillera art and the works of Filipino masters and contemporary artists.

Visitors are given a visual treat that provides opportunity for retreat with nature and appreciation of the different galleries, namely: the BenCab Gallery, Cordillera Gallery, Erotica Gallery, Sepia Gallery, Philippine Contemporary Art Gallery 1, Philippine Contemporary Art Gallery 2, Maestro Gallery, Print Gallery, Patio Salvador and Larawan Hall.

Check out Café Sabel as well as the museum's garden that has a duck pond. Visit the organic farm with an aviary of local and imported fowl, including a mini-forest with an eco-trail. The museum functions also as a venue for art shows and exhibits Baguio City.

Last weekend, April 12, the GUHIT ARTISTS launched their exhibit dubbed “SALU SALO” that will run up to June 12 for the benefit of Sagip Buhay Medical Foundation of the Philippine General Hospital. This is the second time the GUHIT artists are holding the exhibit in Baguio (the last of which was done in 2002 at Baguio Country Club).

Featured artists include Araceli Limcaco-Dans, Aladin Antiqueno, Angelito Baldemor, Philip Mayoya, Tiny Nuyda, Azor Pazcoguin, Tito Sanchez and Janice Liuson-Young. GUHIT lectures and art workshops are scheduled at Baguio Country Club Ambassador FVR Hall. Aladin Antiqueno will lecture on basic drawing, Janice Young will cover Portrait Drawing and Tito Sanchez will share his techniques on Bas Relief Sculpture.

All workshops will be held at BCC on April 14 and on the following day, April 15, Ms. Barbara Dans-Paguia will feature “Teaching Art to the Innocents” to teachers and parents of children with special needs. Ms. Araceli Limcaco-Dans is set to lecture on the “Importance of Art in Values Development of Children.

Art and culture are both an essential part of a city’s identity. Successful creative place making builds the economy at the local level, enhances surrounding non-arts businesses and provides job opportunities and ways for individuals to participate in activities associated with the arts and cultural events. The results bring people together, spark community pride and create a more vibrant destination.

“In poetically well-built museums, formed from the heart's compulsions, we are consoled not by finding in them old objects that we love, but by losing all sense of Time.” -Orhan Pamuk, The Museum of Innocence.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 15, 2014.

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