The Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) in partnership with the Kaya Natin! Youth Los Baños (KNY-LB) held an Eco Art Festival at the Centennial Center for Digital Learning (CCDL) Auditorium last 09 March 2024. Project LIKHA (Leveraging Ideas of Kinship in Harmony with the Arts) is an Eco Art Festival designed to address multifaceted challenges faced by the youth in Los Baños and nearby areas, ranging from mental health issues to cultural preservation and environmental concerns. By leveraging the transformative power of art, science, and community engagement, Project LIKHA aimed to instill a sense of responsibility and creativity in the younger generation.

One of the primary objectives of the festival was to provide a platform for children and youth to express themselves creatively while learning about pressing environmental issues such as waste pollution. Through interactive activities like eco art therapy and community mapping, participants were encouraged to explore innovative solutions to these challenges, fostering a sense of empowerment and agency.

A diverse group of 64 participants, including Los Baños Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Officials, youth trolley drivers, and teachers and students from FMDS’ Earth Ambassadors (EA) partner schools, actively engaged in the festival. The FMDS EA, consisting of youth from Grades 4-6 in partner schools, play a vital role in raising awareness and conducting activities related to sustainable development and environmental management within their communities.

Dr. Joane Serrano welcoming the participants of Project LIKHA

The festival commenced with a warm welcome from FMDS Dean Dr. Joane V. Serrano, emphasizing the integral connection between arts and science. Ms. Janelle G. Ebron, Chairperson of KNY-LB, then introduced Project LIKHA, setting the stage for a series of engaging activities.

Students taking part in one of the activities of the Mindful Sustainability Journey (left) and Ms. Ma. Renee P. Lorica giving a talk about the Importance of Biodiversity (right)

Before the main session, participants embarked on a Mindful Sustainability Journey led by Ms. Erma S. Tidon, a Psychotherapist and Wellness Consultant. This was followed by an enlightening talk on the Importance of Biodiversity by Ms. Ma. Renee P. Lorica, Vice President of Professionals Uplifting the Neighborhoods of Los Baños (PUNLA), and an Introduction to UPOU FMDS Perma GARDEN Species by Ms. Raizza Anna M. Alforja, a Research Assistant at UPOU-FMDS. Additionally, Ms. Yvette Beatrice Co, a local graphic designer and artist, delivered a thought-provoking session on “What is Eco Art Therapy?” bridging the gap between art and mental health.

During the festival, participants were grouped into 10 and tasked with creating eco art pieces using recyclable waste collected beforehand. Each group presented their creations, which were judged by esteemed panelists composed of Dr. Consuelo Dl. Habito, Mr. Jerome A. Suplemento II, and Mr. Lexter Mangubat. Group 9 (Tikling) secured 3rd place, Group 1 (Red Amaranth) bagged 2nd place, and Group 4 (Selosia) claimed 1st place with the scores of 80, 90, and 100 respectively.

Top 3 winners for Project LIKHA (1st, 2nd, 3rd place from left to right)

During the closing remarks, Ms. Mary Grace Campollo, Head of Project LIKHA, expressed gratitude to all participants for their enthusiastic involvement, marking the festival’s successful conclusion.

The Eco Art Festival not only showcased the creative talents of the youth but also underscored the importance of environmental stewardship and community engagement in addressing contemporary challenges. Through initiatives like Project LIKHA, the journey towards a sustainable and vibrant future for all continues.

Photos from Kaya Natin! Youth – Los Baños

Written by: Sydney Rovin Macahiya • Edited by: Larry N. Cruz

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