As a child, I was described by my mom as someone who is artistic. I like singing, I like dancing, I like the art per se. My creative side was not only limited to doing these forms of art but is extended to my admiration for museums and the like. And I thank my mom for this “love of the arts” and for exposing me to art at a young age.
As I grew older, I found myself being more fascinated with various forms of art. I found myself visiting more museums and art centers more often. So when an invitation to visit Quezon City’s premier spots which includes art centers, parks and business centers, I immediately signed myself up. This activity is part of the 75th Founding Anniversary of the city where bloggers are given the opportunity to get to know Quezon City attraction drawers. The bloggers who were part of this “blogventure” were grouped and assigned with various destinations.
One of the 3 destinations our group (Van #7) visited is Erehwon, an art center. Honestly, it was my first time to hear of this art center. I know the other museums in QC but Erehwon really is foreign sounding to me. As we entered the gate of the center, we were greeted by a group of their staff together with the owner, Mr. Rafael Benitez and this awesome and humongous piece of art at their lobby. (see the photo below)
EREHWON, as a center, is dedicated to being a living hub in the Philippines. As such, it intends to bring together the Filipino artistry and talents. The building will serve as an avenue for these artists who are keen in developing art to a higher level.
Erehwon (when read backwards, it is actually Nowhere), is a four-storey building. Looking from the outside, it seems to be simple and really discreet. But, once you step into the building, you will will be impressed as it houses an array of art galleries, painting and sculpture rooms, a simple art residency dormitory, a dance studio, a mini-orchestra room, a café, a print production area and a spacious roof deck.
After a quick tour on all 4 floors, the owner gave us further insights about Erehwon. Sir Raffy said that the building used to be a bakery, but they had to close it down for some reasons. In 2012, they turned it into an art center. He was quick to point out that they prefer to call it as an arts center and not a commercial gallery nor a museum. The exhibits come from various artists and people are not forced to buy the artists’ work. Moreover, the center is not limited to visual art (just like most galleries and museums are).
As we have seen during the tour, the center is the home of the Philippine Daloy Dance Company (that is why they have a dance studio). Also, the very enthusiastic owner said that there is also a room for the Metro Manila Music Orchestra. Prominent artists like David Pomeranz even used that room for his practices when he had his concert in Manila.
They also have a café conceptualized by artist Ben Cervantez. According to Sir Raffy, the café was put up for 3 reasons: for one, it serves as an area for artists to converge, second is for them to collaborate their projects, and of course, to be a center for living art.
We really had a great time listening to Sir Raffy’s stories. He even mentioned that plans of expanding is already on its way. They will soon develop an Erehwon Art Center in Baguio City, and hopefully 2 more centers in Davao and Cebu.
The Center and the people behind it really hopes to inspire and strengthen art-making in the country and be a helping hand to artists and other aspirants. Kudos to the entire team of Erehwon! Thank you for this very informative and moving experience.
FYI: “Tagaligtas 44,” an acrylic on oil painting honoring the 44 elite police commandos killed in the Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash, was actually an output of the artists of the Erehwon Center for the Arts in honor of the SAF 44.
The EREHWON Center for the Arts
#1 Don Francisco Street, Villa Beatriz Subdivision, Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City
Contact Information: (+63) 927 5753 531 or (02) 218 2618; firstname.lastname@example.org.
***My visit to Erehwon Center is one of the 3 destinations (and write-up I made) I was fortunate to visit during Quezon City’s 75th anniversary celebration.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust’. Take it easy ebri’juan’…