Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Art Association of the Philippines Tahanan Office/Gallery for Filipino Artists

"The need for an AAP Tahanan became imperative when we were unceremoniously booted out in 2014 from the Kanlungan ng Sining or Art Haven in Rizal Park. And as fate would have it, a few months after, a huge tree fell on its roof, blocked its entrance, and made the building useless. I have no mission but to share and to impart God's gift. God shows the way as to where I'm needed. Am just the keeper of the art. To look at my works and know they are done by a Filipino artist, not just to admire the beautiful colors but to get the message." ~Fidel Sarmiento, AAP President, Master Visual Artist, The Wizard of Visual Art

Art Association of the Philippines Inc. (“Tahanan ng Sining”) is a non-profit and non-government agency organization founded by Ms. Purita Kalaw Ledesma. 75 years ago since the inception of the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP). It has gained 12,000 members with 2,000 members actively participating annually. Their vision and mission is to foster, promote and advance the interests of those who work in the Fine Arts including painters, sculptors and graphic artist of the Philippines; And protect and secure the rights in their professional activities, to procure appropriate legislation of all the members for the common good, to prevent and abolish abuses, and many more.

AAP organization has been always homeless. The current set of officers led by master visual artist Fidel Sarmiento, wants to bring the AAP to new heights with its own home, a base, an office/gallery, an educational center.

A visual manifesto is finally rising on a 200 sq m lot in Silang, Cavite, Metro Tagaytay, a tiny but cozy building with two (2) floors consisting of gallery, office and accommodation spaces, with 5 rooms, 7 toilets and a roof deck. AAP Tahanan located at Lot 4, Purok 5, San Isidro Labrador Residences, Brgy. Ulat, Metro Tagaytay, Silang, Cavite is set to initially open their doors on October 8, 2023.  It may be a tiny two-storey home but it is surely built with BIG dreams by artists for artists, a Forever Home for Filipino Artists.

Third quarter 2022, SM offered the Podium and Aura for the artists to put up fundraising exhibits where they generated less than a million pesos. A few students of Sunshine Place in Jupiter, Makati, where Sarmiento teaches painting thrice weekly donated a couple of millions in cash and kind. But construction halted at the start of 2023 and started anew late March from donated materials through Wilcon Home Depot and other generous art patrons.

After the March 2022 groundbreaking, expenses piled, from taxes to steel bars, from weekly payroll to materials, etc. The contractor/engineer, John Morales, is pro bono. Architectural design by Sarmiento, pro bono. The sculptural facade will be pro bono by famed artist Sam Penaso.

Together with hardworking AAP officers:
  • Roger Santos, Vice President
  • Margaret Lim, Secretary
  • Monette Alvarez, Treasurer
  • Lulu Olan, Board Director
  • and their network of friends

The artists are painstakingly painting stroke by stroke, color by color, their biggest collaborative OBRA MAESTRA, the AAP Home.

The AAP is now the biggest and oldest umbrella national artists organization although founded by Purita Kalaw Ledesma as a social group in 1948. Its rich history boasts of national artists and international luminaries - Vicente Manansala, Jose Joya, Ang Kiukok, Jerry Navarro, Frederico Aguilar Alcuaz, Botong Francisco, including living legend BenCab.

With the padlock etched in his mind, Sarmiento vowed to build a permanent AAP house "to avoid being at the mercy of revolving government officials." Inspired by the two successful artists co-sponsored auctions/fundraisers for Ondoy and Ormoc victims, respectively called Artabang 1 and Artabang 2, in Cebu with Michael Dino, Secretary for the Visayas, Duterte time, Sarmiento pushed for Artabang 3 with the Cebuanos. But this time proceeds will fund the first ever AAP Home.

AAP Secretary Margaret Lim, a watercolor Hall of Famer.

"We asked 80 plus artists to donate their paintings for a one night auction on Dec. 19, 2019, where we raised P4.5 million." ~Margaret Lim, AAP Secretary, a watercolor Hall of Famer

Margaret Lim, AAP Secretary, a Watercolor Hall of Famer

I was so happy to receive a piece of watercolor art from Ms. Margaret Lim.

The AAP Tahanan aims to:
  1. Be a central office for different groups of artists from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
  2. Be a gallery as well for out of town artists who need to exhibit their works but cannot afford accommodations.
  3. Be an educational center for visual arts for high school students by conducting regular workshops.
  4. Be the face of the Filipino Artist to the world.

No other artist like Fidel Sarmiento has brought the luxury of visual art to the people from Bukidnon to Bilibid, from schoolchildren to seniors, demystifying and mystifying the process of painting yet simultaneously encouraging the pursuit of artistry embedded in the Filipino's DNA.

Wielding his painterly wand, he demonstrates how colored pencils or pastels on paper, even a household sponge dipped on house paints and swiped on canvas can bring out another Amorsolo. Then, he distributes pastels and paper paraphernalia, and with his group of artists coach the audience living behind bars, or tribal people, or awed grade schoolers. Yes, he makes it look so simple as shooting hoops street style with visions of LeBron.

Sarmiento, the Wizard of visual art, appears to be on a mission. Hence for the past years, he tirelessly traverses the islands influencing as many people as he can with his style of Painting 101.

President for 18 years of the oldest artist group, the Art Association of the Philippines, he forged with GSIS, an on-the-spot painting contest held annually since 2004. People of all persuasions spill out of the hallways of the reclaimed bay area GSIS offices to the multi level entrance steps, creating masterpieces from daybreak to dusk for the coveted honor of winning over thousands of other artistic hopefuls.

For the 4,000 nationwide AAP members, Sarmiento and his officers continuously market their works collaborating with various organic galleries, medical groups, and foundations to benefit charities like the San Lorenzo Ruiz Home for the Elderly.

Almost every month, holds an outreach program, the latest organized by Gov. Joe and Vicky Zubiri in Bukidnon for the Manobo tribe. Last December, a plein air painting in Baguio with a group of seniors headed by former Makati vice mayor Conchitina Bernardo.

He is the inaugural artist of Happy Garden Cafe, a wellness destination along Jupiter St., Makati. During EDSA Shangrila's 2019 Chinese New Year events, he led AAP members impart the beauty and speed of producing oil pastels artworks to an enraptured crowd.

Was also lucky to be one of the 3 attendees to win Sir Ral Arrogante's works. Tutubi for the win!


Yearly, inmates blend oil pastels with him and AAP members. Three years ago, he painted with Ormoc schoolchildren hosted by Congresswoman Lucy Gomez. Two years past, he exhibited in Honolulu with artist/actress Heart Evangelista for the 119th Philippine Independence Day. For quite a number of years, he juried and showed in Seoul, Korea. Just turned 59, he has traveled and enthralled the world with his canvases from Europe to America to Asia, winning awards for himself and the country.

Such is the spectrum of Sarmiento's reach. No one too low or too high, too healthy or too sick, to be touched by the healing and enriching art of painting.

On his fifth year as the wizard at Sunshine Place, he enchants the seniors on four wheels, a third leg, or on active twos, rejuvenating their endorphins on colorful canvas glory. The five story Sunshine Place along Jupiter St. Makati is a foundation built by SM's Tessie Sy Coson in honor of her mother Felicidad Sy. Its President, Lizanne Uychaco, a bank executive and the country's foremost feng shui mixed media artist, asked Sarmiento to be the resident art professor.

"We are lucky to have Sarmiento sharing his talent. He is truly a living national artist." ~Lizanne Uychaco, President, Bank Executive and the country's foremost feng shui mixed media artist

Lizanne Uychaco, President, Bank Executive and the country's foremost feng shui mixed media artist

Sarmiento desires the viewer experience to go beyond the colors and the canvas. The fortitude of gratitude is immensely infused in his being. That's Sarmiento the People's Artist.

For Inquires:
  1. Margarita C. Lim - CP# 0917-5522550
  2. Monette R. Alvarez - CP# 0977-6861556
  3. Veronica Olan - CP# 0995-7136410

Donations can be forwarded to AAP Home - Art Association of the Philippines Inc.
Acct # 122-124181-2

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