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An online hub of creativity

THE IDEA of creating an online arts and wellness platform started in 2013 when Marika Manglapus-Ledesma, Bianca Yuzon-Henares, and Carina Alejandrino-Arenas were at university pursing a degree in arts management. Aside from showcasing creativity in the platform, the founders aimed for it to establish connection and a community among creatives.

In 2018, Mses. Yuzon-Henares, and Alejandrino-Arenas founded Grounded, which they fondly refer to as a “holistic arts studio” that provides an avenue for artists through showcasing visual arts, publishing journals, and producing podcasts.

“The three of us grew up involved in the arts and culture and all have creative backgrounds in dance, music, theater and visual arts combined. We come from an arts school and have an arts management background and we realized that together we have an incredible network of creatives,” Ms. Manglapus-Ledesma told BusinessWorld in an e-mail. “We continue to build friendships and establish professional relationships through the network.”

“We’ve always chosen topics that are related to holistic living — be it mindfulness, movement medicine, mental health, arts and spirituality. Grounded is not the glossy side of wellness but the stories that connect us to each other and help us become better people along the way,” Ms. Yulo-Henares said.

One component of Grounded is the Grounded Artist Network (GAN), a network of artistic individuals which currently has about 40 members.

Through GAN, Grounded mounted its first online exhibition this year, “States of Cadence,” featuring artworks by 19 artists from different creative backgrounds.

The first online exhibit of this two-part series opened at www.groundedph.com on Sept. 23 and will run until Nov. 15.

“Artists and their works go through a screening process between the three founders of Grounded. There are no specific requirements other than presenting one’s portfolio,” Ms. Yuzon-Henares said. “We are always actively looking for creatives to be a part of our network.”

For “States of Cadence: Exhibit 1,” the artists were asked “to create a series that reflects the way they see the collective energy of today’s world.” The online exhibit features mixed media works, paintings, prints and photographs on holistic lifestyle and community, and Grounded’s advocacy for ocean environmental awareness.

“Our intention is always to merge some form of wellness and to have a holistic approach to arts and cultural projects. Usually that means tying it up with our advocacy that are geared towards the youth and the environment,” Ms. Manglapus-Ledesma said.

One of the featured artist for this exhibit is photographer Archie Geotina who presents “PEARLS,” a series of black and white photographs of Filipina surfers dressed in Filipiniana gowns.

Meanwhile, ocean photographer Michael Eijansantos shows a series of surfing photographs; film photographer Natalia Larrauri’s photos tackle the diversity of women’s bodies; and artist and designer Mikee Silva presents comical paintings that look into everyday existence.

Abstract and resin artist Alecca Adarna and painter and interior designer Corina Borromeo showcase glow-in-the-dark works. Nikki Ocean and Swedish artist Camila Öster Yu showcase their watercolor paintings of marine life. Teacher and painter Ana Abigail’s oil paintings explore the homeschool journey. Artist and florist Melissa Lara presents collages of nostalgia. Lucia Fischer offers framed 3D artworks that acknowledge the struggles of women while also celebrating female power. Silkscreen prints by La Union-based video producer, cameraman, and surf enthusiast JP Sarmiento are also on view. Creative entrepreneur Jof Sering created mixed-media paintings of the ocean.

Artists based in the Visayas, such as abstract artist Luis Antonio Pastoriza and Bacolod artist and illustrator Gringo Benedicto, also have works on the show.

“We plan to create more unique projects in collaborations with GAN artists. Through Grounded, we are determined to set an example for the youth by acting with compassion and kindness in everything we do, even in business. We hope Grounded can be successful enough to prove that compassion, kindness and giving back can be a good business model. We are still learning a lot about running a business, but we are fully committed to our mission and established in our values, and we are interested to see where it will take Grounded,” the co-founders said.

Alongside the artworks that will be available for purchase, States of Cadence will also present short films from the @globestudios’  Independent Film Festival. There will also be a virtual wellness space to accompany this exhibit as part of Grounded’s mission to bring a more holistic approach to arts and culture.

All artworks in “States of Cadence: Exhibit 1” are priced between P5,000 and P25,000. Grounded is dedicating a portion of sales to the projects of Oceanus Conservation, a Philippine non-profit organization that conserves and restores blue carbon habitats such as coral reefs and mangroves.

The second part of the series will be launched in December and will run until March 2021, with plans for a physical show during the first quarter of next year.

Submissions for the second edition of “States of Cadence” are being accepted until Oct. 20. Interested parties may contact Grounded at contact@groundedph.com. —  Michelle Anne P. Soliman