When Covid-19 was still called the Corona Virus or NCoV and had not yet stirred the entire community, artists had it in their guts that they needed to come together and do something. Like true visionaries as artists are often called, Charlie Co, RA Tijing and Barry Cervantes saw ominous clouds.
With their fears yet to be validated, they quietly launched a food assistance program for their fellow artists whom they felt would be badly hit by the virus,Using funds from the Orange Gallery, they bought groceries rice and other food stuff for their fellow artists, including the workers in the Art District which is home of Orange. “RA and Barry personally purchased, packed and delivered the goodd,” Charlie noted.
As the Covid-19 problem devloped into an unprecedented crisis, the artists turned their hearts and hands to addressing the urgent need for PPEs among the frontliners. They gathered materials for face sheilds and distributed the work to more artists: Katz and Rolf Baynosa, Dennis Valencia and many others joined in. “When there is need for their help, the artists would always be there, “ Charlie said,
And then, Art Heals happened. This is an online art exhibit of over 50 Bacolod and Negros Occidental artists who donate 50 per cent of the income to the war against Covid-19.
The income is actually split thus: 50 per cent goes to their anti-Covid 19 project, 40 per cent to the artist and 10 per cent to the artists who do not sell in this exhibit.
Thus far, ArtHeals has raised P700,000 as of this writing. Some P256,000 has been given to the Negros Volunteers for Change which, Charlie said, has the network to source out materials as well as identify the beneficiaries. A big part of the initial funds went to food distribution.
The artists themselves also did their own food distribution in remote areas in the highlands of Patag. ArtHeals was also participated in by Angela Silva, Katz Baynosa and Jemaimah Campos as administrators of the project’s Facebook page.
The artists continue to find opportunities to help. “We feel this is not the time to complain what the government is and is not doing and instead, do what we just have to do to help., Charlie also said.
Along the way, these artists are proving that they are in the truest sense of the word members of the larger community around them. And yes, they also continue to affirm the time-proven adage that indeed, art heals.* TGLife