THE ongoing pandemic is wearing down students and teachers who have been struggling to push through with learning in the new normal. At times like these, art becomes a respite for the tired mind and the weary soul. After more than a year of hunkering down in their homes because of limited mobility, the academic community in Davao del Sur sees Smart’s Paint It Forward as an effective way to promote mental wellness among student-artists.
Paint it Forward is a wall mural design contest organized by PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. that aims to involve local artists in advocating the sustainability programs of the community and to serve as therapy for the community that has been fatigued by varying quarantine rules.
“This has a big impact on the lives of the students because the activity has become a coping mechanism for them. They are very happy to have joined this project because they are able to paint again after months of being in lockdown," said Bernie G. Quilaton, DepEd Davao del Sur's Senior Education Program Specialist of the Social Mobilization and Networking Division. "The activity provides an opportunity for students and educators to work together, learn about teamwork, and foster positive interactions. It enables our youth to take an active part in pushing forward noble causes," Quilaton added.
Seven groups from Digos City, Padada, Sta. Cruz, and Magsaysay towns joined the art mural contest in Davao del Sur. Their entries will be hard to miss because they are located in areas with high public visibility. All the teams were given a budget to procure paint, brushes, and other art materials.
Teacher Michael M. Villaret, coordinator of Youth for Environment organization, shared that the wall mural activity is one way to boost the confidence of student-artists because it allows them to express their emotions while showcasing their talents and skills. Villaret is part of the five-member team from Sta. Cruz Elementary School that joined the art competition.
"The murals communicate the message of how the collective efforts of responsible citizens can contribute to proper management of community resources so that future generations will still be able to enjoy them. We’re highlighting a smarter and more conscious way of life which are key elements to create a better world to live in," Villaret said. “Our mural hopefully sends a strong message to our community on the importance of taking good care of the environment. We want to show tree planting and coastal clean-up activities. Sta. Cruz is an emerging tourism destination in the region that is why we are promoting responsible ecotourism.”
The teacher-artist explained that their painting aims to promote reforestation of the mangrove area in Tuban and to remind mountaineers who climb Mt. Loay to be mindful of the waste they leave behind.
The group with the best art execution will take home P30,000 worth of gadgets, WiFi kits, load cards and SIM packs while the second and third placers will receive P20,000 and P10,000 worth of communication packages, respectively. The winning teams may choose to donate their prizes to a community or organization of their choice. Consolation prizes will also be given to the rest of the participating groups. (PR)