Welcome to Pagdiriwang 2020. It feels so weird during this pandemic lockdown era to even imagine producing a festival that is anything but in-person. But it is what it is, a new normal, or at least what would pass for as a new normal while we navigate a whole new world of virtual festivals.
To be sure, this is also the first time that Seattle Center is responding to the challenges posed by the pandemic even as we partner with it to present the 34th annual Pagdiriwang 2020 virtual festival of arts and culture.
Arts and culture are activities that do not lend themselves to easy pigeonholing when we assess the impact of COVID-19 to the general populace. Often artists do not earn their bread and butter from their art. Unless one is an in-house artist who is paid a regular salary, how does one apply for unemployment benefits? Heritage societies find it even more difficult to maintain their programs because non-profits like the Filipino Cultural Heritage Society of Washington do not have regular paid employees to be qualified for a loan under the CARES Act, yet generate expenses to support their activities. To put this issue in context, the challenges of generating funds for activities are already existent prior to COVID-19; they present an even greater challenge now.
As the saying goes, the show must go on. We soldier on because it is our duty to disseminate all that is good and beautiful in the arts that express our ethnicity. Some say that arts and culture are luxuries we cannot afford during these times. On the contrary, it is when times are extremely difficult when we must not forget nor forego our humanity expressed through arts and culture. They enable us to hold on to our better angels when the temptation to act purely on survival mode threaten to rob us of our soul.
For our 34th annual Pagdiriwang festival, we offer a series of virtual events on June 6 and 7. We will present these events on the days of our festival and will be on-demand afterwards on our website at www.festalpagdiriwang.com. They are representative of our annual offering such as the art exhibit, poetry reading, ethnic dances, martial arts, songs and community services.
Please check our Facebook and website pages for more details.
Mabuhay and stay safe!
Director, Seattle Center
Mayor, City of Seattle