Text by James Tana; images courtesy of Art in the Park
The Jaime Velasquez Park in Makati, more commonly referred to as Salcedo Park, is far from the recognizable picture it paints every February: there are no tents and built walls where artworks jostled for space, and no busy crowd contemplating which piece suits their taste and budget.
The Art in the Park, on its 15th installment, picks up from where it left off in 2020 and goes online with 60 participating exhibitors consisting of galleries, collectives, and art schools.
In an interview with Art Plus, Trickie Lopa and Lisa Periquet, co-founders of Art in the Park, recognize that adapting to the changing environment during the pandemic has pushed them to rethink and transform their operating models, while staying true to the essence of the fair.
“[A]side from mastering technical skills that had to do with figuring out the backend of marketplace platforms, it was also important for us to translate the spirit of Art in the Park,” explains Lopa.
The shift to digital, which addresses the limitations of a physical activation, provides a venue to showcase more artworks and facilitate longer presentation, viewing, and engagement with the art pieces.
For this year’s edition of the fair, the special exhibition, in a series of mini-documentaries, showcases the intricate craftsmanship of ceramic makers Jon and Tessy Pettyjohn, as well as the clay art of photographer turned potter Joey de Castro.
“Art in the Park has provided a venue for artists who work in this medium to grow their audience and collectors. At the same time, the potters, as we call them, have enhanced the fair through the range of pieces they offer every year, from functional tableware to sculptural forms,” says Periquet.
On the other hand, the featured artworks of Cebuano-based multimedia artist Yvonne Quisimbing, Don Papa art grand prize awardee Henrielle Pagkaliwangan, and architect-illustrator Jomike Tejido, according to Lopa, “have taken present circumstances very much into account when conceptualizing their shows [for the fair].”
The organizers endeavor to rise to the challenge and sustain their platform that supports the artists and enables the art community to continue to flourish.
“Having a presence in the digital space has proven to be really important. It signals that Art in the Park is still around, a constant even in these difficult pandemic times, as it continues to support all its stakeholders[,]” Periquet shares.
With the Salcedo Park now deserted, what remains are some all-too-familiar scenes — the dehydrating humid weather and dust particles that coat one’s footwear and skin— all lingering for now until it is safe to stroll the park again, in search of that collectible.
Art in the Park runs online from February 21 to 28, 2021. Visit the website here.