THOUGH ManilArt never fails to enthrall with its annual stint, it is quite a depressing sight to see how the audience it consistently draws is the same brood of quintessential art enthusiasts.

The crowd has never diversified. There were the heftily-priced artworks displayed—having the participation of more than two dozens of local art galleries and a multitude of prized Filipino artists—in lieu of the mellow music and complimentary comestibles.

How likely, can we presume, that these factors intimidate the mid-class level to attend events alike?

American artist Andy Warhol once said “making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” Yes, art comes with a price—a good amount. But it is not supposed to hamper people—of all classes, to think twice before basking on its magnificence.

A regular ticket to the ManilArt only costs 200 pesos, 150 pesos for students. It is tantamount to usual cinema tickets, or maybe a fast food meal. It may be easy to blame the seemingly vague overwhelming concept it presents itself as to “ordinary” people or perhaps the price of admission, for deterring the common crowd.

Despite that price, can we assume that everyone can afford a ticket? Or maybe a better question would be: if everyone is willing to afford the ticket, considering there are other commodities that must be answered first?

Also artists cannot cheapen their craft for the affordability of a larger crowd perhaps, in the same manner that physicians can not heal patients for an alternative price.

A friend of mine, a budding artist, said it personally insults him whenever a client bargains his work.

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“Hindi naman pwedeng bababaan mo ‘yung value ng work mo, just because. Minsan nga, gusto nila, thank you na lang ang kapalit,” he said.

But money is not the only issue here.

In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, basic necessities like food, shelter, and clothing always come first. It’s not until a few levels upward wherein the need for creativity or spontaneity can be found. What appears to be interesting to one may not appear interesting to another. Likewise, the faculty of people to discern art differ.

It takes extensive research and exposure to the arts for one to truly comprehend it.

The Philippines, being a developing nation, does not have a lot of room for lavish activities—at least, for a fairly big fraction of its population, excluding those who are well-off. Art literacy is also something that does not come free or can be found just sitting around the corner.

So is art only for the elite?

It is not. However, our present times heed more to the upscale class, considering the factors mentioned.

I am looking forward to the day an art fair, or even just a simple exhibit, can bind various sets of people together—one that does not choose based on financial or societal standings.

Maybe, in a parallel universe, everyone can purchase art for their own consumptions. One, wherein money and lack of enough inclination is not an issue.

Or, who knows? Perhaps, in the near future?

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The Varsitarian, the 86-year-old official student publicaion of the University of Santo Tomas, is currently in need of web developers.

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Our website, www.varsitarian.net, needs a redesign and an overhaul.

Interested parties are invited to submit a resume or their company profile to the Varsitarian office at Room 105, Tan Yan Kee Student Center building, University of Santo Tomas or to ralphjdh@gmail.com.

If you have any questions you may contact Ralph Joshua Hernandez at 0905.977.0919.

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A major breaktrhrough is in store for the participants of the 16th edition of the Inkblots, UST’s national campus journalism fellowship.

It is slated on December 1 to 3 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex.

For inquiries, contact the Varsitarian at: 09175626767 (Globe), 09255687015 (Sun), 09994154229 (Smart) or 406-1611, loc. 8235. You may also email varsitarianinkblots@gmail.com.

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