Finally, ArtPortalCebu—the art gallery of artist couple Celso and Fe Pepito—is open. The gallery had its formal opening on April 18, with an art exhibit tItled “MUGNA+LANTAW-1” with art patrons Armida Caguitla, Dan Climaco, Azucena Ilustrisimo and lawyer Vincent Tabunag officiating in the ribbon cutting ceremony.

ArtPortalCebu is a very cozy gallery, measuring about 28 square meters which the Pepitos have maximized to be able to hang more art pieces. A few feet behind its glass frontage, they built a store room that also serves as walls for hanging art pieces. A foot or so from a glass-walled side, they set up a wooden panel so they could hang art on both its sides.

In his opening remarks, Celso traced the search for a venue for Cebu artists to exhibit their works.

“From Raymundo Francia and Canuto Avila, to Jose Trinidad Alcoseba and Julian Jumalon, to Martino Abellana, to Romulo Galicano and Sofronio Mendoza, and up to the present, Cebuano artists have continually evolved amid trials and difficulties, not minding the struggle for recognition, rather embracing that painting was an end unto itself. The passion of Cebu’s creative individuals in their quest for more substantial artistic expression remains unwavering, never mind that there aren’t enough appropriate venues for exhibitions,“ thus showcasing their art “in malls, hotels, restaurants and even hospital lobbies, and in that manner, brought art to the average Juan, who had yet to learn to go to museums or galleries.”

According to Celso, ArtPortalCebu hopes to partly solve this need for exhibiting space for the growing number of active artists in Cebu. With its current exhibit, all its available space is filled with the art works from the exhibitors: Jonathan Abellana, Lida Maria Aguilar, Darby Vincent Alcoseba, Noel Bueza, Methuzael Carredo, Ronald Cortez, Joel Cristobal, Jess and John Dinglasa, Reynan Dingal, Roel Fisalbon, Mean Mustard, Radel Paredes, Celso and Fe Pepito, Bong Rafael, Ruel Rosello, Lucilo Sagayno, Antonio Vidal, Angelico Villanueva, Garry Watin, Marlone Ylanan and Sonia Yrastorza, and sculptors Cebu-based Karl Herbich, Angelico Villanueva from Montalban, Rizal, and Noel Bueza from Lucban, Quezon. Even while the Pepitos were preparing for ArtPortalCebu’s first exhibit, five of the paintings to be exhibited were already sold to persons who happened to be in the vicinity.

ArtPortalCebu is located at the ground floor of the Community Rural Bank of Catmon Cebu Inc., Consolacion Branch Building, National Highway, Barangay Pitogo, Consolacion, Cebu.