(SPOT.ph) Areté, Ateneo de Manila University's colossal arts and innovation hub, opened in stages since the first rooms welcomed students and guests in September 2017. The George SK Ty Learning Innovation Wing of the four-floor and two-part structure was the first to be completed, while the Arts Wing remains a work in progress. Still, we can't help but feel overwhelmed upon entering the newly opened Ateneo Art Gallery and the Doreen Black Box Theater.
"From Ateneo Art Gallery's (AAG) old home of having two main exhibition spaces, here in the Areté, we have seven galleries for our exhibitions, which means we have more opportunities to present the Ateneo Art Gallery's collection. In our collection, we actually have works, early works by National Artists such as Fernando Amorsolo, Arturo Luz, Napoleon Abueva; and we have an extensive collection of works by social realist artists," explains Esty Bagos, the gallery's Museum Education Officer, about their big move from the Old Rizal Library Special Collections Building in October 2017. Its inaugural exhibit was the 2017 Ateneo Art Awards which filled the walls of the first floor exhibit halls—Mr. and Mrs. Chung Te Gallery, Mr. and Mrs. Ching Tan Gallery, and Ernesto and Susan Tanmantiong Gallery.
The young artists' works were cleared out in February 2018 to give way to the university museum's vast collection of post-war Philippine modern art. The exhibit titled Love It and Leave It: A Legacy of Gifts, which runs until January 2019, reflects how much AAG has grown since its establishment in 1960, when it became the first museum of modern art in the Philippines. It also highlights the role of philanthropy in enriching the university museum, which started with only over 200 artworks donated by Fernando Zobel.