Arts and Culture Empowerment opens new Opportunities

LCF recognizes the power of arts and culture in revitalizing communities

Expanding investment in arts and culture can boost local jobs, generate income for communities, artists, and craftspeople, and help foster the country’s much-desired inclusive growth, according to the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF).

While the services and agriculture sectors are experiencing growth, the country’s creative sector still continues to vie for recognition. “The creative or art sector is among the most promising industries yet it is where we find ourselves most lacking. This however, is not for want of talent, but rather how we value our artistry and use it as a tool to empower lives,” said Augusto Carpio III, chairperson of the LCF and executive vice president of Aboitiz Foundation.

LCF is a network of 76 operating and grant-making corporate foundations and corporations that promotes and enhances the strategic practice of CSR among its members and the larger business community towards sustained national development.                

Recognizing the role of arts and culture in revitalizing communities, LCF established the Arts and Culture Committee, which taps into the artistic and creative potential of Filipinos for nation-building and development. “If we are serious about inclusiveness, we also need to take a stand for our culture and heritage,” Carpio said.

For its banner program, the committee launched Art Connection in 2007, which provided arts appreciation workshops for over 2,000 elementary public school teachers around the country. The committee also partnered with Kythe, a foundation for young cancer or terminally-ill patients for Art-as-Therapy, a program to achieve healing through art.

LCF sees arts and culture as an extension of education because it represents authentic Filipino values and heritage. “A key ingredient to our success as a nation is understanding our roots. This must be our starting point in working towards a better future,” Carpio said.

LCF also works with partners to expand collaborative efforts with indigenous communities and local artists whose products and works are brought to the level of industry which in turn, helps sustain their economy. BPI Foundation, a member of the LCF Arts and Culture committee, acquire artworks by Filipino artists and sculptors to foster awareness on the historical value of art.

In 2004, after landslides struck the province of Quezon, Ayala Foundation saw an opportunity to harness the woodcarving skills of local farmers and fishermen. Through the Banglos project, driftwood was transformed into sculpture pieces which were featured in a public art installation at the Ayala Museum.

Metrobank Foundation also promotes Filipino heritage through its Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) project which provides venues for art education and exhibitions. The MADE project is under Metrobank Foundation’s cultural diplomacy program “DiplomART: Cultural Diplomacy through Philippine Architecture and Interior Design.”

Aklan-based initiative Heritage Arts and Crafts, meanwhile, focused on the development of piña products, especially weaving. The group collaborated with the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), Product Design and Development Center of the Philippines, Fiber Industry Development Authority, and Aklan State College of Agriculture on projects to improve practices, as well as raise productivity and generate income among farmers and weavers. This method of supporting local craftspeople through their art is becoming increasingly popular among tourists looking for “authentic” handicrafts.

“Cultural heritage is an expression of the soul of a people, and it is manifested through the likes of arts, including craft, fine art, music, performance, folklore and dance. It is a reflection of who we are and what we believe in,” said Mercedes Lopez-Vargas, executive director of the Lopez Group Foundation, whose umbrella group handles the Lopez Museum and Library.

The value of arts and culture in promoting inclusive growth is one of the key issues in the 12th LCF CSR Expo on the theme “IsangBansa, IsangBukas, SabaysaPag-unlad”. The premier CSR event will take place July 4 and 5 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. For more information, visit the expo’s official website

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