BGC Arts Center: Art is the heart of the city

January 21, 2017 by EK Dela Cruz

The Maybank Theatre is where most of the shows happen. It has 4 major spaces inside: the Globe Auditorium, Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, Nutri-Asia Del Monte Lobby, and an Exhibit Hall at the top floor.

Art thrives in Bonifacio Global City.

Take a walk down its streets and you’ll encounter art’s many forms: from interactive sculptures, street performances, and thought-provoking graffiti, to live theatre, and larger-than-life murals that cover the façade of buildings.

The city houses the arts, and it in turn adds color and vibrancy to every corner.

Quite fitting that at the heart of BGC is a structure that celebrates this mutually beneficial (and beautiful) relationship.

When art becomes accessible

Tucked between 7th Ave. and 26th Street is the newly-opened BGC Arts Center.

This non-profit is a project of the Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. (BAFI), the same group who brought us The Mind Museum. Having made the sciences integral to the city’s identity, BAFI is now doing the same for the arts.

The names of the sponsors who helped put up the art center are engraved in this metallic sculpture, depicting the many arts.

“We want to provide a distinct experience of the breadth and range of Filipino artistry,” says Maria Isabel Garcia, head of content for the BGC Arts Center. “It is to uplift the community and show (the talent) of our local artists.”

The BGC Arts Center champions the “accessibility of the arts”. It rejects the notion of exclusivity most associated with the arts. Treat the building like a beacon that draws in artist and art aficionados alike.

Visitors waiting for their show to start can do so at the Nutri-Asia Del Monte lobby. The place is big enough to host cocktails and small reception parties.

It’s comprised of three main areas: the Maybank Performing Arts Theater, where most of the shows are held; the Alveo Central Plaza, for holding art fairs and other executions that need ample space; and the Sun Life Amphitheater, for staging shows, live bands, and small plays. There is also a McCafe tucked in the corner, where visitors can duck in for a quick bite during intermission.

Save for select shows at the Performing Arts Theater, most of the events are free and open to the public. “Accessible art” in its truest sense.

Designed for artists to thrive

For its soft opening, the BGC Arts Center treated visitors to an Arts Festival last January 14 and 15.

The festival saw a medley of shows, ranging from performance art, plays, opera, spoken word, documentaries and even improv.

Monica Llamas-Garcia, art program manager at BAFI, said that they designed the building with one important thing in mind: What is the space that is the most useful for Filipino artists to thrive?

“As it evolved, we knew it had to be a space that catered to several different productions. It can be a theatre but it can also cater to concerts. It can also do dance shows or small plays,” says Monica, who is a performer herself.

“That’s how it started. How do you have a flexible space like that?”

Globe Auditorium

They looked at the main auditorium and built around it. The 500-plus seater is made of retractable seating which can be collapsed for an arena set-up. It can be modified to attach a thrust to the stage, bringing the play literally into the face of viewers and giving an illusion that they are part of the story. It can even accommodate a small orchestra.

The Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall caters to short plays, operas, and the performance arts. The cozy and intimate setting gives viewers the illusion of being part of the story. Pictured here is a scene from "Happiness is a Pearl".

Indeed, the other three spaces were also designed for multiple functions. In the Zobel de Ayala Recital Hall, for example, audiences can watch a performance art that unfolds on a small wooden platform. They are seated near the stage that the closeness (and the lack of light) amplifies the intimacy depicted in the play.

But for the next show, the whole space transforms into a sprawling French apartment, complete with huge mirrors, a sofa bed, and cushions on the floor. Here, the audience distance themselves from the performers. The space’s flexibility works on both accounts, transforming to match the “feel” of the performance.

Of course, while this set-up has many legs, it is not spared from limitations.

“Let’s say you want to bring in a swinging chandelier for your play, maybe we are not the kind of space for you,” she says. “But we can have the likes of Rak of Aegis, or ballet, or modern dance and even film showing.”

The BGC Arts Center is all about the "accessibility" of the arts. Even up-and-coming artists have a place where they can show their works. Photo taken during the Art Fair at the Alveo Central Plaza.

In the end, it still boils down to their goal of “accessibility”. Does the art reach those who want it? Those who need it?

“We are at the heart of a modern business district. The opportunity is here for theatrical or artistic groups to perform and reach an audience who might not go to theatres regularly,” says Monica.

Adds Maria: “There is so much in art that can move us, touch us, provoke us.”

“This is BGC’s contribution to larger storytelling. It makes art accessible, and shows it can be for everyone, and made by anyone.”

The BGC Arts Center is primed to become a staging area for Filipino artistry. As a welcome addition to the city, it goes to prove that art is at the heart of Taguig.

Don't miss a show! Visit www.bgcartscenter.org for the complete listing and schedules.

Also check out...

Plan a Romantic Staycation in Taguig this Valentines

Taguig City is home to some of the most sophisticated hotels in the Philippines, making it the…

Art in Every Corner

Well-designed buildings and structures, and eye-catching street art and installations are a…

Bastion of History: Saint Anne Parish Church

Just a few kilometers away yet a world apart from the gleaming trendy shops of High Street is a…