How to maximize your day at Art in the Park

Mike Tomacruz

Posted at Apr 01 2017 03:54 PM

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Right on the heels of a very hectic Art Fair Philippines a few weeks ago comes the anticipated affordable art event that collectors and non-collectors have come to know and love as Art in the Park (AITP). 

Hard to believe but this fun-filled art event is now on its 11th year and as always, it promises to be bigger and better with old and new galleries, art institutions and art groups exhibiting new artworks in all sorts of mediums. 

Besides tons of paintings, there are prints, photographs, sculptures, pottery, and mixed media pieces spread all over Jaime Velasquez Park of Salcedo Village in booths, bazaar or tiangge style. Prices for the artworks vary but are capped at P50,000 by the organizers.
My fellow art lover Ces Oreña-Drilon has asked me to share my experiences and tips for first-time AITP visitors this Sunday. 

First of all, let’s get this out of the way: I super love AITP! I look forward to this art event every year. I’m normally one of the first to enter the park and one of the last to leave (of course with breaks in between to escape the heat and grab lunch somewhere). 

I love that this event is held outdoors in a flea market setting, which is unlike the formal curated shows in galleries. The atmosphere from the get-go is casual and fun. Besides the usual suspects (my fellow art addicts), I enjoy watching different kinds of people, young and old alike, curiously looking at the multi-colored artworks. I see young couples, perhaps looking for an art piece for their new home or condo. I observe mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, enjoying each other’s company while browsing through stacks of paintings. Boyfriends and girlfriends and the barkadas are there, too. 

Cool music plays through out the day alternating with a quartet that plays classical music and a live jazz band that plays your favorite bossa nova tunes. There are delicious food concessionaires around the venue for snacks and refreshments (cold local craft beers – perfect on a hot and humid day). 

I regress a bit – now back to the art. 

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Handout photo

The art is, of course, the star of the day. Figurative, abstract, expressionist, impressionist, hyper-realist, and other art mediums in various shapes and sizes made by the most creative artists all over the country are there for the taking. One can pay for his or her art purchases in cash, check or credit card (some credit cards allow 0% interest for up to 6 months) and take it home the same day. 

With all these in mind, here are some of my friendly AITP tips:
1. Don’t get caught up in the speculative nature of art

Buy with your eyes and heart and not with your ears. The commodification of art has reduced its form and purpose to a commodity that goes up in value based on supply and demand. Gaze at the piece and see if it moves you emotionally. Talk to the gallery owner and ask about the artist. Learn more about him or her. 

Remember that the artist poured his soul into creating the piece you are holding. If you are lucky enough to meet the artist who created the piece, say hello and ask him/her questions about the piece. What was his/her inspiration behind the art piece?

2. There is no good or bad taste in art

The old adage that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” holds true for art. Rely on your own judgment and not what others may say about your art find. Do consider the sensitivities of the people who will live with the art in your home. I have two very young children so I tend to shy away from strongly themed art (violence and nudity).
3. Take note of the space where you intend to hang your piece

The last thing you need is to buy a piece that does not fit in the space where you intend to hang it. Take measurements and check the material of the wall so you will know if it can handle heavy artworks. Hang and enjoy your piece. It will bring you great memories of AITP and the effort you put into finding your art treasure.
4. Set a cap or budget on what you want to spend for that art piece

This is the hardest thing we collectors face at these art events but one can exercise discipline in knowing how much you want to spend for a particular piece. There’s so much art to choose and one will always be able to find something interesting for the right price.

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Handout photo

5. AITP as art appreciation

Do not be pressured to buy anything at AITP. Art appreciation is free! Take photos, selfies with the art and the artists, take down notes on the artists that you like and the galleries that displayed their works. Learn about the process of the artist. Use AITP as a free art education class. There are so many facets of the creative process to learn. You may not take home an art piece but you gain insights on the wonderful world of art.
I hope these little tips will help you enjoy your AITP experience on Sunday.

It would be nice if you can bring a friend to share your art experience with you.

Have fun!
Remember: "The earth without art is just eh." 
(The author has been attending Art in the Park for 10 years now, skipping only a year due to summer travel.)