ORTIGAS Malls is pushing through with the fourth year of the Ortigas Art Festival, both on-site and virtually until Mar. 31. The onsite venue is the East Wing of Estancia at Capitol Commons, Pasig City.

Launched in 2018, the Ortigas Art Festival has the goal of “making art accessible to everyone.” Its first run featured over 60 local artists. In 2019, the roster of participating artists grew to over 130 Filipino artists from all over the country. The number of participants increased to over 200 including artists from other Southeast Asian countries  in 2020.

“Aside from the commitment to provide spaces and communities where life, work and leisure integrate, it is also our goal to continue to provide enriching experiences such as the Ortigas Art Festival,” said Jaime E. Ysmael, president and chief executive officer of Ortigas & Co., during the opening ceremonies on Feb. 24, which was also streamed via Facebook Live. “With the goal of democratizing art and supporting the Philippine art community, we decided to work together with renowned artists in different fields to turn Estancia into an art hub for everyone,” he said.

“Art is an important part of society, it is food to the soul. As long as the community continues to remain dedicated to pursuing the craft and enthusiasts continue to support [it], the art industry will thrive,” artist and festival exhibit head Renato Habulan said in a press release.

Adding to photography, sculpture, and painting exhibits, the Ortigas Art Festival ventures into film this year with a contest and workshops.

The first Vertical Cinema Contest done in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). Participants are to submit a two-minute short film in a portrait orientation shot on a smartphone. The film theme is “The Beauty of Everyday.” The top three finalists will win cash prizes. Deadline of entries is on Mar. 11.

The festival will also host virtual and on-ground workshops such as the FDCP Film Talks on “Editing with Cha Escala” on Mar. 7 (online); Agos.studio will have workshops with Renato Habulan on “Materiality and Illusion” on Mar. 13 (online) and “Watercolor for Beginners” on Mar. 27 (on-site); Born on Film will hold online workshops with Franz Lopez on “Visual Storytelling” on Mar. 19 and “Darkroom Developing” on Mar. 26.

One of the on-ground exhibitions showcases photography by the non-profit organization Born in Film. The photos include works by Filipino photographer Alberto Garcia, best known for his photo of the Mount Pinatubo eruption.

Participating galleries and artists include Agos.studio, Art Relief Mobile Kitchen, PhotoNation, Richard Buxani, Arnel Borja, La Maison D’ David Art Gallerie, and vMeme Contemporary Art Gallery.

Visitors must observe health and safety protocols such as wearing a mask and face shield, observe social distancing, and have a Pasig Pass upon entry.

Exhibits and on-ground workshops will be held at Estancia G/F East Wing in Pasig City. For more information and schedule of events, visit Ortigas Art Festival 2021’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ortigasartfestival. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman