Consider it an early Christmas for art lovers. Ayala Museum plays Santa Claus as kindness shall be rewarded with gifts of inspiration at the second “Inspire Every Day!” event happening today at Makati City’s premiere museum.
Organized by the Ayala Museum in partnership with the Ayala Foundation Inc. (AFI), the free-admission and open-to-public Inspire Every Day! will feature special guests, musical performances, interactive art stations, and mini-bazaar in addition to its existing exhibits. Making this year’s outing more meaningful is the opportunity for the participants to help various causes under the Ayala Foundation Inc.
Shift in museums
The first Inspire Every Day! was on July 19, 2014 gathering 3,300 people throughout the day despite the fact that its only publicity were word-of-mouth and social media.
According to Mariles Gustilo, senior director for Arts and Culture of AFI, the event was inspired by a Smithsonian Institution study. She shared, “We noticed that there has been a major shift in the way museums are now run. The idea was crystallized by someone from the Smithsonian Museum who said that museums are shifting now from being just about something to being for somebody.”
Published in 2002, the study entitled “Exhibitions and their Audiences: Actual and Potential” wrote: “Scholarly analyses and professional debates have concluded that museums are in the midst of a basic shift from a focus on objects and subject matter to a focus on audiences.”
In response to this shifting paradigm, Ayala Museum came up with a campaign to attract more people into their museum, hence, Inspire Every Day! was born.
“Our dream is to get [people]to consider coming here once in a while. We are competing with many other sources of pleasure like shopping, eating, watching movies, so why not a museum?” Gustilo expressed.
“I guess in the end, what we’re trying to achieve with the museum is to become kind of a community center for the arts, at least in this part of town. And we try to do that by coming around with exhibitions and educational programs that we hope will inspire you every day as much as they inspire our staff,” she elaborated.
Ayala Museum Senior Marketing Associate Spike Acosta echoed Gustilo’s vision as he discussed the day’s activities further.
“We want to become a hub here in Makati for the cultural needs of the people. To crystallize that idea, we came up with Inspire Every Day! and it’s super people-centric,” he shared.
In addition to the museum’s existing archeological, fine arts, history, and traveling exhibitions, there will also be “Inspire Stations” manned by artists and brands of various crafts.
Participating artists include videographer Jason Magbanua, visual artist Leeroy New, Up Dharma Down vocalist Armi Millare, and watercolorist Valerie Chua.
Magbanua will crowd-source and collate short Instagram videos of people doing acts of kindness. Leeroy New, the brain behind Aliens of Manila, will bring his wearable sculptures to lend to museum visitors. Chua will crowdsource 4” x 6” postcards with people’s artworks. Millare’s participation is yet to be confirmed as the vocalist is currently ill, however, Acosta joked that she might give out “free hugs” to fans.
Creativity stations will be set up by brands Team Manila and Craft Carrot, along with organization Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK). Team Manila will man a silkscreen station, Ang INK will engage visitors in an illustration session, and Craft Carrot will host a calligraphy and drawing station.
As the crowd busies themselves with these attractions, Manila Symphony Orchestra chamber and Tago Jazz Café musical acts will keep music going in the background.
To be granted free entry to Inspire Every Day! there is only one condition: be kind.
“We believe that opportunities to be kind are also opportunities to inspire,” Acosta said. “There will be an option for people to be part of the Ayala Foundation’s mailing list wherein they can volunteer their time and talent to the different programs of the foundation. Once they fill up the form, they will get the kindness currency.”
This, for the Ayala Museum, is a way for people to channel their energy into doing something good.
“With 3,000 individuals, we would really want to see how we can engage them in various foundations. We don’t only want to see fun in what we do every day, but we would also want to put that fun into learning something meaningful for their days,” Mariecar Fernando, project manager of Ayala Foundation’s Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (Centex) said.
She further enumerated the “menu” of volunteer opportunities museum-goers could pour their talents to.
Those with a gift for verbal communication can join storytelling sessions in Centex, while athletic individuals can engage in sports sessions with the students. Shutterbugs can lend their photography skills to “capture the joys and success of students and teachers in Centex” and lastly, graphic artists can volunteer to create art materials for various beneficiary communities.
“It’s not just about making a donation in cash or in kind but it’s really about moving from pity to empathy. If we place ourselves in the shoes of these students, teachers, and people in the communities of the foundation and other organizations, it’s really when we are able to better understand their situation and contribute more to their individual stories,” Fernando summed up.