Dear Artist 2017, a creative camp for artists, designers, and all manners of creatives, was held last June 11 and 12 in The Coffee Farmhouse. The camp was oriented towards helping these artists discover their voices, spaces, and eventual directions within the communities that each one of them aspires to serve.

The two-day retreat was spent pursuing various art activities and workshops, engaging with a wide range of speakers and specialists, and of course, personal insights processed within group conversations. This year's Dear Artist prioritized not only a career-oriented approach to the life of a creative, but one that seeks to sincerely engage with the communities that one wants to reach via their art or design. Here, the artists were challenged to reconcile their personal artistic journeys with the roles they currently play in society.

After all, to do art or design in this day and age is more than just purpose or collaboration--it's also a hopeful act of community-building.
"There is no bad art, only inauthentic art."

Pao Tiausas, Speaker

"I've been constantly asking myself, always having crossroads in life for the past three years on what I really want to do and this camp just inspired me and taught me to not be afraid, take risks and be patient with myself to grow and concretely show how passion meets purpose. Somehow, it got clearer; I really just want to share myself in the world through art and design."

Blew David, Participant

"I am convinced that beyond the technical aspects of design and artistry, a job of a designer can be heroic. Heroic in a sense that we do not need to be recognized as great, but as someone who serves as a bridge for people who deserve to have a voice in society. I hope that aspiring artists will be able to do art as means of service to communities that reminds us of the hope and love our country deserves."

Kyle Sy, Facilitator

"Being a creative is all about showing what it means to be human."

Ivan Lanuza, Speaker

"They say, you are never too empty to give, or too full to receive."

Michaella Ortega, Speaker

"I have always been passionate about our country's history and I enjoyed seeing an exhibit full of artworks that tell a story. As an artist and a designer I now know that my role is to create, be the voice, inspire, and tell stories for others."

Dianne Aguas, Participant

"This creative camp really helped me pinpoint my focus on my advocacy and to try incorporating it with what I love to do. It also had such great speakers, sharing their stories and explaining it well enough to get their ideas through."

Raffy Borromeo, Participant

"Service is not an act of sacrifice, it is a privilege."

Prim Paypon, Speaker

"A highlight for me was when we all gathered in a circle just before the day ended and we shared our learnings and insights over the weekend. It felt like kindergarten; we were all relaxed and the ambiance was great but what I loved is how open each one of us are, I was not really a vocal person especially in a bunch of people but it felt so light and so easy to just talk and have people hear and genuinely care. Words aren't enough to express how thankful I am to be a part of it. It was like a looooooong, warm hug."

Blew David, Participant

The most difficult part of the camp is that transition from "self" to "others". It's important to appreciate ourselves and the work we do, but we have to be cautious in thinking that a designer has the most important role in solving a problem when in reality we have many limitations. I've learned in this camp that art and design is powerful, but I am small, and this can be a form of empowerment for it forces me to work "with" others and not just "for".

Roxy Navarro, Facilitator