The year began with our first show overseas at The Atheneaum Arts and Music Library in upscale La Jolla in San Diego, California where guests were introduced different aspects of Juan de la Cruz, as seen through the eyes of nine of the Philippines' most promising young artists.
This was the first of a series of Looking for Juan events that we out together to explore the use of art to express and gain greater understanding on what it means to be Filipino.
Two much larger Looking for Juan shows followed to showcase the works of more than sixty artists at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and at the Alab Art Space of the Intellectual Property Office, culminating with a landmark outdoor exhibit that again displayed the images as unique art banners around the Academic Oval of the University of the Philippines.
The outdoor event allowed us and the artists to engage and connect with the public as they walked, biked or drove around a 2.2 kilometer oval under the magnificent acacia trees of the University.
The tarpaulin banners were eventually recycled into one-of-a-kind art bags which were sold, and the proceeds used to help fund a small fleet of bicycles for Padyak, a UP-based movement that promotes environmentalism as a healthy lifestyle.
We also published two more children’s books in 2009.
CANVAS Earth Tales was launched in March in an event that also benefited The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) Foundation. This book is a collection of three very short ecofables for children (The Hummingbird (author unknown), The Star Thrower (author unknown) and The King and the Royal Trees by Paul Aird), and features the artworks of Plet Bolipata, Liza Flores and Ivee Olivares-Mellor.
October then witnessed the publication of Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas by Palanca winner Genaro Gojo Cruz with artworks by Anthony Palomo. The book launch was held simultaneously with a sold-out exhibition of the artworks at the Ayala Museum.
Other notable events included CANVAS’ participation in the first Manila International Art Fair, Plet Bolipata and Elmer Borlongan’s Two-Part Invention exhibition at the Ayala Museum, and the Manny Garibay & Buen Calubayan-led mural and float for this year's Lantern Parade.
We also finally put our stories in e-book form on our website for everyone to download, share and enjoy - ALL FOR FREE!
But by far, our most ambitious project for 2009, and maybe ever to date, was the building of the Salinlahi Friendship Park in Palawan, in partnership with the City of Puerto Princesa and the Pacific Rim Park Project.
Now overlooking the sea, where dolphin watch tours are done, the park was designed and built by architecture students from Korea, the US, Russia, China and the Philippines, under the supervision of world-renowned architect James Hubbell, ALL IN 30 DAYS!
You can check out the day-to-day progress from conceptualization to actual launch by visiting our blog and viewing our May 2009 archives.
The park becomes the fifth pearl (joining others in Russia, the US, Mexico and China) in a strand of sister parks that will eventually ring the Pacific Rim.
In sum, from our Looking for Juan Program solidifying and taking shape; to the publication of our latest children’s books; to the Salinlahi Park which, in addition to our books, is as close to a real tangible legacy that we can point to for many many years to come; 2009 marked a banner year for CANVAS.
So what’s in store for 2010 and beyond? Big plans, bigger dreams and more adventures! We can’t wait!