If you ever find yourself wandering along the busy stretch of Chino Roces, make sure to drop by Bellas Artes Outpost, an alternative art space that exists just inside the Alley at Karrivin. You’re guaranteed to learn at least one new thing here; you need only have the curiosity for art, the desire for thought-provoking conversation, and the confidence to ask questions.
Photos courtesy of At Maculangan, Toia Avenido, and Myra Ho for Bellas Artes.
The Outpost isn’t hard to miss: the thin, blue lights pulsing against the grey façade stick out like a sore thumb, though you may have to squint your eyes to read the words below. It looks small at first glance, but once you get past the mini foyer and go up the staircase, you’ll see a larger space, partitioned into an exhibition area, a viewing room, and a bright reading salon complete with tomes on art, architecture, and design.
Founded by Jam Acuzar and the team behind Bellas Artes Projects, the eponymous Outpost is designed to attract and engage urban audiences with BAP’s art residency program in Bagac, Bataan. It holds four exhibitions a year and programs such as artist talks, film screenings, and forums that are free to the public. Though it juggles being a part-library, part-gallery, and occasionally, part-event space, the Outpost is, at its core, an art concierge for those who wish to nourish their creativity and seek to expand their knowledge and understanding of Philippine contemporary art.
“Through BAP, we encourage everyone to approach us and ask questions,” shares Jam and BAP’s deputy director, Fatima Manalili. “A lot of people are scared of the unfamiliar—they could just walk into an exhibition and just leave because they don’t understand it. We’re here to debunk the myth that in order to appreciate art, you should have an art history degree or already know about art. That’s not true. Understanding art is a process, much like reading a book. You need to look at the work, ask questions and find the curiosity to continue discussing it with others.”
Community-based and context-responsive art practices are virtues held by Bellas Artes Projects, and these are never lost on their different programs. Through the Outpost, Bellas Artes hopes to be a refuge for artists and art enthusiasts in the city, a space where they can slow down, engage in thoughtful exhibitions, and forge connections with local and international artists.
Jam Acuzar, Founder
Catch the Outpost’s newest exhibition, “Fairest of the Fair,”
which examines the cultural significance of Filipino beauty pageantries and its connection to the fantasy of monarchy in the psyche of Filipino society. Featuring works from Pio Abad & Frances Wadsworth Jones, Analivia Cordeiro, Köken Ergun, Jose Enrique Soriano. “Fairest of the Fair” runs at the Outpost from May 7 to July 27.