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​ ​ARTLETICS 2013: Art meets sports in Lipa, Batangas

De La Salle Lipa's faculty leads the warm up exercises before a game.

Ditching their painter’s pants for jerseys and their canvases for balls and rackets, local artists temporarily left their studios and trooped to Batangas for two days of sports and wellness activities. The artists endured the heat to join ARTLETICS 2013, a summer bonding activity that melds the seemingly opposite world of arts and sports.

More than 100 participants comprised of artists and student athletes participated in the third ARTLETICS event held last April 13-14 in De La Salle Lipa, Batangas. For two days, artists engaged in healthy competition, unleashed hidden skills in sports, and enjoyed the company of fellow artists and friends.

ARTLETICS is a non-profit sports and wellness event which aims to build stronger ties within the local arts community through sports and promote an active and healthy lifestyle for artists. The sports event is an independent initiative to break the stereotype of artists as inactive and physically-challenged individuals and encourage artists to make healthier choices for living.

Fun and sports

Sports and games were the main attraction of ARTLETICS. Organizers filled up the two-day schedule and arranged official competitive events in basketball, badminton, table tennis and chess. To break the boredom during dead hours, ARTLETICS participants stacked up blocks in Uno-Stacko and racked their brains with Cranium. Artists also ducked hits from fellow artists in the unofficial dodgeball event, played by a mix of kids, young artists and the more advanced contemporaries.

To foster the competition and develop a sense of team spirit, participants were grouped into four teams: Green, Yellow, Red and Blue. In summary, each team carved its own niche in the sports arena. The Yellow team shone in the badminton court and bagged first place. Meanwhile, Red reigned in chess and Green dunked its way to championship in basketball.

The participation of varsity players from De La Salle Lipa raised the level of competition in sports events like basketball and chess. Other student athletes also lent their time as arbiters for the badminton and table tennis matches.

Unfortunately, logistical problems in venue and sports equipment made the competitive volleyball events impossible to hold. This problem, however, did not stop artists from playing volleyball. Proving that creativity overcomes adversity, artists played ‘imaginary volleyball’ and played like pros. The competing teams sustained rallies, and the frequency of blocks and spikes sizzled the imaginary ball game.

Advocacy in the arts

Nikki Gamara sharing her experience as a daughter of a political prisoner.

Since the first ARTLETICS in 2009, the event has grown in terms of artist participation and program, recently delving into other advocacies and arts-related issues. This year, the evolution of ARTLETICS can be seen in its line-up of activities. New partner Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) also injected forums for advocacy in the recently concluded ARTLETICS. CAP invited Niki Gamara, daughter of political prisoner and labor leader Renante Gamara, as model for a live sketching session. Niki shared her family’s experience while artists sketched, creating a new experience for the participants. Niki’s testimony led artists to donate their sketches in the hope that these would help in her family’s crusade for justice.

After the sketching, Dr. Leni Jara of Council for Health and Development gave a talk on the healthcare system of Cuba. Jara discussed the differences between the Philippine health situation and that of Cuba, highlighting the need for reforms in health services in the country.

The second day of ARTLETICS was a time to discuss artist’s rights, as Filipino Visual Arts and Design Rights Organization (FILVADRO) joined the fray and tackled issues of copyright and intellectual property in the arts community. Karen Flores of FILVADRO introduced the concept of collective management organization as a way for artists to protect themselves and avoid problems in intellectual property theft.

Besides the seminars, informal discussion also enriched the ARTLETICS experience. In a spontaneous discussion, artists shared thoughts on issues pertaining to art practice today. Some artists raised concerns in current modes of trade in the arts, while Lipa-based artists voiced resentment against the Manila-centric character of the contemporary art scene.

Fun and sporty community

Supported by ARTCube and other sponsors, and in partnership with CAP and De La Salle Lipa, ARTLETICS 2013 closed with a ceremony suited to the fun spirit of the event. Special awards were given to artists who captured the attention of the participants for either the right or wrong reason, such as the Well-Rounded Award for the heaviest player, and the Best in Sportswear for the artist donning heels during the two-day event.

ARTLETICS is certainly one summer event that artists could look forward to. In fun and creative ways, it brings together artists of different backgrounds and builds camaraderie in the arts community.

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