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Arts Week 2024

Making Art Happen at Keys School Manila's Arts Week 2024

The annual Arts Week at Keys School Manila is a highly anticipated celebration allowing students to fully immerse themselves in the world of Visual and Performing Arts. This year's installment from May 6-10, 2024 proved to be an extraordinary showcase of creativity and artistic expression under the theme "Manawari: Making Art Happen."

© Fundacion Sansó and Aesi Cruz

A New Arts Teacher's Perspective 

For Teacher Dom Alfonso, joining the Keys community as a new teacher this year, the Arts Week festivities were a whirlwind initiation. "I was nervous and excited because this was my first Arts Week experience," he admitted. However, Teacher Dom’s apprehensions quickly turned to exhilaration upon learning about the school's deep commitment to the Arts. "One of the things I recall from my first week was when my coordinator told me there was an 'Arts Week.' I felt a sense of joy, anticipating, 'Wow, this school values Arts.'"

His excitement grew as preparations for the event commenced. "I was also excited for the gallery show at Fundacion Sansó. I am a teacher, but at my core, I am also a painter/artist. I was excited for the students because I knew the simple joy of having your artwork displayed on a gallery wall, and I wanted them to experience that as well."

© Fundacion Sansó and Aesi Cruz

Securing a Prestigious Venue 

Indeed, Teacher Dom's pivotal contribution was recommending the renowned Fundacion Sansó as the venue for the student art exhibition. In his eyes, the decision factors were clear: "The students deserved their artworks to hang on gallery walls...in a gallery that celebrates art history and supports the youth and up-and-coming artists." Additionally, Fundacion  Sansó’s proximity to the school campus and its "belief in nourishing the talents of our youth" aligned perfectly with Keys' values.

"I was initially in disbelief as they accepted and offered the gallery for a given date," Teacher Dom recalled of his initial meeting with the Fundacion Sansó curator. His decisive initiative set the stage for an unforgettable exhibition experience. "In the end, I will forever be grateful for being a part of this Arts Week experience at Keys School Manila."

© Fundacion Sansó and Aesi Cruz

Vision & Monumental Preparations 

According to Visual Arts Teacher Cindy Ayende, the overall vision and goals for this year's Arts Week were lofty. "We aim to continue making art an avenue for self-expression and doing art for more meaningful causes. We also envision making the students feel like they are 'real artists'---whether in Performing or Visual Arts."

Achieving those aims required a huge effort from Teacher Cindy and her dedicated Arts team colleagues. Preparations commenced during the previous summer and continued into the early months of 2024. "We started the planning during the Summer work of 2023. Then, we continued to think about the activities we wanted the students to experience in the early months of this year."

Their brainstorming spawned a diverse array of activities and experiences designed to immerse students in every facet of the art world. "The Arts team prepared a lot, from brainstorming different ideas that will make this year's Arts Week different from the previous years to executing little by little the variety of activities that we had in mind."

Crucially, Teacher Cindy emphasized, "We made sure to ask the students for input while planning the activities." After all, as the primary participants, the students' voices were essential in shaping an Arts Week aligned with their interests.

The preparation phase was grueling yet deeply rewarding for the Arts teachers. "We stayed a lot of late nights in school!" she recounted. Their dedication shone through!

© Fundacion Sansó and Aesi Cruz

Persevering Through Challenges 

As opening day neared, an unexpected obstacle threatened to derail the Arts extravaganza: an intense heatwave. Confronted with this daunting environmental challenge, the Keys teaching staff collectively regrouped. "The leads of the team thought of different 'Oplan Heatwave' options, from A to C," Teacher Cindy explained. "Since everyone's health remains our top priority, we let go of our 'ideal' Arts Week and thought of other ways to adapt without sacrificing the enjoyment of the community."

Their contingency planning exemplified Keys' core values of flexibility and resilience. "We are very grateful that Keys' teachers embody the characteristics of flexibility and adaptability, which made it a bit easy for us to change our plans.”

An Enlightening Student Experience 

Ultimately, through immense dedication from teachers and staff, Arts Week 2024 transpired as a vibrant demonstration of students' creative capacities. The diverse offerings, from talent shows to gallery exhibitions, allowed students to explore artistic passions in a nurturing environment.

"I hope the students realize that Visual and Performing Arts are safe spaces to explore themselves," Teacher Cindy expressed. "I hope everyone learns to appreciate that we, teachers, students, and those who view the art, should also give importance to the art-making processes."

For Teacher Dom, a particular highlight was "seeing a student show their artwork to their parents and seeing how proud and meaningful it was to them." He remarked, "It meant a lot to me...the kids were STARS! And they deserved it."

Beyond celebrating students' talents, the Arts teachers aimed to open doors for potential career paths. Teacher Cindy hoped students "won't hesitate to venture into any art-related career in the future if they are interested in doing so. Art opens many doors and windows of opportunity."

© Fundacion Sansó and Aesi Cruz

A Flourishing Partnership 

The tremendous success of the Fundacion Sansó student art exhibition marked just the beginning of a blossoming relationship between the school and the arts institution. "We hope this will be the start of a building relationship between Keys School Manila and Fundacion for years to come!" Teacher Dom said gratefully.

© Fundacion Sansó and Aesi Cruz

As the curtain closed on Arts Week 2024, the Keys community could take immense pride in upholding their esteemed tradition while breaking new ground. "Hiraya: Making Art Happen" was more than just a theme—it was a manifesto actualized through the enriching experiences crafted for students. The Arts will continue to thrive and inspire at Keys School Manila.

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