TRAFFIC, and not the misconception that art is elitist, is the reason why many find the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) to be, literally and figuratively, hard to reach, said the CCP’s new chairperson, Margarita “Margie” Moran Floreindo.
The former president of CCP resident company Ballet Philippines (BP), speaking to the press after her oath taking on May 17, said that the notion that art is snobbish is only a misconception.
“It’s just a perception. For the past years, the CCP has been active in bringing the people here. We’ve been doing that for 10 years in Ballet Philippines, and I am sure the other resident companies are doing the same. It’s just a hallowed perception,” she said.
From 2016 to 2017, the CCP audience grew from 655,000 visitors to 678,000, and the target is to reach one million attendees by 2020.
“The problem here is the traffic. It makes it [a problem] for people from Quezon City, for instance, to come here. I find it so satisfying when we invite public school students to come and watch our shows and they dress up in their best, they look forward to it, and it changes their way of thinking when they are able to witness and experience a show. It’s the same with the young visual artists who come and visit the exhibits — it enriches them,” said Ms. Floreindo.
She was appointed as a member of the CCP’s Board of Trustees by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in January this year, and in April she was elected to head the board.
“I am not just a chairperson, but a chairperson plus something,” said Ms. Floreindo, who succeeded Emily Abrera.
Thanks to her being a household name — many people still remember that she won the Miss Universe pageant in 1973 — she said she’ll use her clout to talk, approach, and influence people to embrace more culture and art activities in the country. After all, it is the mandate for the CCP trustees: to make art and culture accessible to everyone.
“I will just build on what Emily Abrera has done, and she will still be in the Board, anyway. We also have new infusion of young members of the board, which makes it more exciting,” said Ms. Floreindo.
The current member of the board are Arsenio Lizaso, Stanley Borero Seludo, Nestor Jardin, Michelle Nikki Junia, Zenaida Tantoco, Mary Rose Magsaysay-Crisostomo, Anthony de la Cerna, Jaime Laya, and Emily Abrera.
She added that there will be no difference in leadership style. “There will not be any change in vision, we will follow the path that has been set by our predecessors,” she said.
For the coming years, the CCP is preparing for many celebrations like the 50th anniversary of CCP and Ballet Philippines (Kathleen Liechteinstein, an advocate of culture and arts, has taken over Ms. Floreindo’s former post as BP president).
Cinemalaya and Pasinaya — two of the CCP’s best attended events — will also mark 15th anniversaries next year.
Moreover, the CCP will be unveiling new buildings in the next few years — the Black Box Theater in 2019, with the New Artists Center and New Performing Arts Theater to follow.
“It will be a season of edgy and experimental productions that will suit the young audiences,” Ms. Floreindo said of her vision to bring attract more people to visit the CCP.
Many may have known Ms. Floreindo as a former beauty queen, but she has always had an artistic side, taking dance lessons in her youth then joining musicals that were shown at the CCP. She also co-produced the award winning film Bagong Buwan.
As BP president, Ms. Floreindo spearheaded fund-raising campaigns like Art Auctions and Ballet Barbie for BP, which have made the company sustainable.
During her presidency, BP was also able to establish branches of its dance school in SM Aura, the Greenhills Theater Mall in San Juan, and Victoria Sports in Quezon City. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman