Center for Culture and the Arts

Artistic Director’s Notes

Since the creation of the SSC-R Manila Center for Culture and the Arts, I am led to these reflections and decisions.

Majority of the members of the SSC-R Manila community must be led to understand the value of the arts in the institution. They must be led to understand that the development of the arts also depend on the development of the other aspects of the school such as that of the propagation of the faith and that of education. The arts are by-products of minds and hearts molded in or through – and fortified with – knowledge and wisdom. This knowledge or wisdom necessary for artistic creation does not only come from subjects such as those focusing on language, literature, and the like. This comes from a guided combination of various principles and concepts learned from various or all subjects. I think that must be expected from an academic institution: development of a holistic point of view among its constituents, or individuals who are able to see the interdependence of different areas of thought. I may, therefore, say that a well-developed academic culture inevitably creates a well-developed artistic environment.

To set the identity of this artistic environment that is to be created in San Sebastian, though, there is always a need to make sure that everyone and all endeavors must be founded and grounded on faith. Ergo, the academic culture that must be developed must be fortified with Gospel values and paradigms that are taken from the Word of God. Without reservations, I must state that the ultimate paradigm the institution must follow in molding its members must only be the One and Triune God.

That is to say, in a figurative sense, faith must be the ground on which education is the tree that is planted: the arts are its fruits. We may go on to say, though, that this is a cycle. The seeds from said artistic fruits shall also nourish said grounds of faith.

In truth, these three concepts – faith, education, and the arts – must be perceived as intermingled, affecting one another. But everyone must not be led astray. These three things must be given attention to; but the greatest of these is faith.

In order, therefore, for the Center for Culture and the Arts to be able to accomplish its mission, it must work towards collaborating with the various units of the institution in making sure that each of the three areas mentioned is given ample attention and importance. It must design and implement projects geared towards the development of all three if it seeks to succeed in making the SSC-R Manila truly a center for culture and the arts.

The four major thrusts – Research Development, Academic Laboratory, Repertory Building, Linkages – of the Center are expected, then, to strengthen each of the three: faith, education, and the arts. They also are meant to solidify the relationship between and among these areas.

At this point, I would like to discuss the concepts of center and of culture.

Let it be clear, this early, that when I say or write SSC-R Manila Center for Culture and the Arts, I mean to refer not just to one office within the SSC-R Manila community; I also refer to the very goal of that particular office, that is, to make the SSC-R Manila a center.

One very interesting and significant definition of center is: a point of origin, as of influence, ideas, or actions. Taking this definition, I would like to state that it must be the goal of the SSC-R Manila Center for Culture and the Arts to work towards establishing San Sebastian College – Recoletos Manila as a center or as a point of origin, as of influence, ideas, or actions. This means that the institution must be an active participant in plotting the course of personal histories of individuals it comes to work with, and of the history of the nation and the world. This shall require a deeper understanding of the humanities. The Center shall work towards molding the hearts of SSC-R Manila’s constituents. It shall focus on their humanity.

The office shall strive to make the institution a center of excellence when it comes to culture and the arts.

But how do we come to establish this culture of excellence? If SSC-R Manila becomes a center of excellence, if it must become a point of origin, then I would like to state that this point must indeed be rooted in the Gospels proclaimed and propagated by the Roman Catholic Church. No other institution shall be able to understand the humanities more than the Church does, with the Church being deeply founded on the Word of God made flesh, made human.

I, therefore, state that the Center shall assist in establishing a culture of excellence among SSC-R Manila’s constituents. This refers to excellence in various aspects: faith, education, arts.