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Writer’s Recap: Celebrating the people, power, and potential of CLA in ‘ArtsFest 2022’

Last November 10 to 23, the College of Liberal Arts’ (CLA) Arts College Government (ACG) welcomed the return of its annual Arts Festival (ArtsFest) on campus. For the first time in over two years, ArtsFest’s festivities were held in a hybrid setup, making for a more engaging and collaborative experience. This year’s iteration of the event holds a special place in CLA College President Verrick Sta. Ana’s (IV, OCM) heart. “It has always been important to forge avenues like this project for CLA students to thrive because when times are evolving, each student must be given an opportunity to move forward with these changes,” they extend. 

With a whopping six projects under their belt, ArtsFest 2022 project heads Kyla Amadora (III, CAM-MKT) and Zara Martinez (IV, BS-PSYCH) envisioned the festival to bring the college closer together. “The past two years have been difficult for all of us and for [myself],” Martinez shared, “ArtsFest is a sign of hope that there will always be an opportunity for us to adapt to new changes.” Thus, this year’s ArtsFest opened doors for CLA and non-CLA students alike to find a new home within the University. 

Artists in front

ArtsFest 2022 opened its festivities with a ribbon cutting ceremony for its art exhibit initiative “Way Back Home: Art Exhibit” at the Bro. Bloemen Hall. “We took into consideration the talents of our community, we believe that it’s time to take the talents of the students outside of their homes through an art exhibit,” Amadora shared, deeming the project a necessity. In total, the event displayed more than 30 artworks from 25 participants. 

Two of Maverick Guiao’s (I, LIM-CW) literary pieces were featured in the exhibit. 22 Years serves as a tribute to a recent passing of a loved one, while I was home was inspired by different events in his home environment. Upon learning that his works were accepted in the exhibit, he was delighted to learn he had achieved such a platform as an aspiring writer and an opportunity to share his works within the CLA community. “It’s such an honor to have this kind of event and to showcase my work as a writer. It would inspire others as well to get out of [their] zone,” he noted. 

Meanwhile, first-time chalk artist and FAST2021 Batch Vice President Sabina del Rosario (II, OCM) saw the opportunity to enhance her creative skills. She narrated, “I started first by looking through the [publicity materials] for the event and saw that there was a 3D aspect to it and I wanted to incorporate that into my design.” Ultimately, she was inspired by how the project served as an avenue for “young artists in DLSU…to have their talents recognized.” 

Aside from channeling the artistic prowess of the CLA students, Martinez emphasized the need for career-related activities to encourage students to explore possible future professions, addressing a “particular obstacle some students may be experiencing”. She continued, “I think that a stereotype in being a college student is that we should already know our career path and have a clear plan on what to do after college, but that is not [always] the case.” Hence, “iLAND: Service Drive Careers”, immersing students in various occupations to understand how a student’s career path would turn out. The symposium invited Rica Ortiz (V, ISJ) talking about her time in the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines; CLA alumnae Dara Ilaya (CAM, ‘22) and Bettina Calubaquib (ISE, ‘22) meanwhile shared their experiences in law school entrance exams and working for the United Nations, respectively.

Channeling the heart of Liberal Arts

The fun did not end in Taft as the celebration extended all the way south at the Laguna Campus. A day’s worth of activities commenced in partnership with the DLSU Laguna Arts College Government to campaign for a community-powered CLA. These included interactive events such as “CLA Day”, which highlighted the interpersonal skills of students toward the Liberal Arts community—alongside “CLAbrate”, an open mic event showcasing the students’ array of talents. 

The festivities continued on-screen with the “Liberal Arts Film Showcase” at Teresa Yuchengco Hall. “It is for the liberal arts students to be given the platform to showcase their hidden talents and artworks,” Martinez described. The event featured four short films: Sukat ng Sikat, B-side, Pakisabi by Lyshiel Aranal, and Tahan Na—all of which were produced by Communication Arts students. 

To cap off an action-packed week, the culminating activity opened with “Liberal HeARTS”—directing the spotlight to the students with another open mic activity at Bro. Bloemen Hall. Host and project head Tati Dulce (II, CAM) shared their team’s vision for the event, “CLA is all about puso. We’re a really artistic community, and a lot of creativity comes from the heart.” Moreover, Dulce proudly divulged that their team did not have a hard time finding artists to perform—some even spontaneously volunteered during the event itself. 

Volunteer Alessandra Haraplasan (II, ISJ) performed her own spoken word piece, titled Letters to Them. Sharing that she almost backed out at the last minute, she mentioned, “I always feel shy about performing but I knew that I wanted to do it.” Inspired by the film 10 Things I Hate About You, she recounted her creative process.“[It’s] a Frankenstein of how I feel about multiple people. [That] way, other people can [have their own interpretation either] about a girl, a guy, or a nonbinary person, anyone,” she posits. 

Homecoming

Circling back to the event’s Central Committee’s community pillar, the culminating activity concluded with a socializing activity called “A Night to Remember”. This event allowed students to step out of their bubbles to encourage community building. “We wanted this year to be more intimate—a moment for the CLA community to rekindle the love for the college,” Amadora emphasized. True enough, through the cold breeze of the night, students gathered in small groups to share their experiences throughout the event and their sentiments moving forward in CLA. 

“The power of Liberal Arts is its own people and what each liberal arts student and individual can do for our community and the society,” Sta. Ana stressed. At its core, ArtsFest 2022 felt like coming home to a community to bridge differences after two years of isolation due to the pandemic. It rekindled the sense of identity for Liberal Arts students to move forward as one community, as they were given more avenues to express their art and creativity to utilize themselves as changemakers within the University and society at large. 

By Magz Chin

By Laurence Pontejos

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