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Four major events that occurred during the first half of the 20th century solidified the Dominicans’ decision to establish the UST School of Fine Arts. The first one was the signing of Executive Order 6102 by President Roosevelt on April 5, 1933. The second event was the establishment in 1935 of The emergence of the Modernist

Philippine Commonwealth Government.

movement in Philippine visual arts was another contributory factor. Finally, the university-wide expansion program that coincided with the transfer of UST to its Sulucan campus in 1927 firmed up the establishment of the school. The Executive Order 6120 The Great Depression that was brought about by the industrial collapse in the 1930’s engulfed the United States and the rest of the world. However, the effects of the depression were hardly felt in the country. Philippine economy was experiencing a boom. In fact, the

The economic upturn was

brought about by some measures adopted of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration to halt the hemorrhaging of the American economy. One of

these measures was the Executive Order 6102 that was signed by President

Roosevelt on April 5, 1933.

It prohibited gold exportation from the United

States. Another was the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, which raised the nominal price of gold from $20.67 per troy ounce to $35.32 The increase in the price of gold triggered a mad rush by American prospectors to Baguio’s gold mines in order to fill the vacuum in the international gold market. Prospectors earned enormous profits in the process. With gold revalued at $35 an ounce, the

Philippine gold industry hit the proverbial “gold mine.” According to Onofre D. Corpuz noted in his book entitled An Economic History of the Philippines, “The only major new industry sector in the economy developed late. The Benguet Consolidated Mining Company had modest outputs in gold ore before 1920, but export began to be significant only during the next decade. Exports of gold ore amounted to P6.3 million in 1928; P11.2 million in 1929; P26 million in 1935; and P73.9 million topped only by sugar in 1940. With only very small balance, the entire output of the gold mining industry was exported to the United States.” hour.33
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Executive Order 6102, - Requiring Gold Coin, Gold Bullion and Gold Certificates to Be Delivered to the Government, April 5, 1933, see, online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project., accessed 30 July 2012, 3:55 AM. Onofre D. Corpuz, an Economic History of the Philippines (Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 1997), 261.
33 32

Independence and not depression was the burning issue of the


The Philippine Commonwealth The second event that contributed to the decision to establish the UST school of fine arts was the establishment in 1935 of Philippine Commonwealth Government. It signaled the entry of the Philippines on its final preparatory stage towards independence. To prepare economically the newly established nation, the US Governments turned over to the Quezon administration a sizable fund built from taxes collected from the Philippine coconut industry. This fund further propped up the already burgeoning Philippine economy and it was used for infrastructure and other development projects of the Commonwealth government. In addition traditional Philippine exports, such as, abaca,

coconuts and coconut oil, sugar, and timber, were also doing very well, especially coconut oil and timber.34 A gold boom of considerable proportions is taking place; large sums of money have been pouring into the Commonwealth Treasury from the United States coconut oil excise and sugar processing tax refunds; and the natural resources of the country, agricultural, mining, fishing, forestry, are known to be bountiful. As a result, Philippine economy rose to unprecedented highs.

Americans as well as other foreigners arrived to seek their fortune in the
Catherine Porter, Philippine Industries Today and Tomorrow, Far Eastern Survey, Vol. 7, No. 13 (New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, June 29, 1938), 143,, accessed 01 July 2012, 5:14 AM.


Philippines to take advantage of business opportunities that were opening up as the economy expanded.35 University-wide Expansion The administrators of the University of Santo Tomas, attuned to the needs of the time, initiated an expansion program that commenced soon after the opening of the new Sulucan campus in 1927. This expansion program was a continuing one which included, aside from the development of university facilities, introduced new course offerings. The opening of the Architecture

course in June 1930, according to Norberto De Ramos, was the opening shot that started the opening of new courses, one after another, including the launching of the fine arts school.36 The Modernist Movement Another important event that deeply impacted on the establishment of the UST fine arts school was the emergence of the Modernist movement in Philippine Arts. Local art during that period was retarded by at least 50 years. It stagnated and remained in that state until the late 1929. Prof. Victorio
Laurie Reuben Nielson, The Milieu,,, accessed 01 July 2012, 12:23 PM. Mr. Norberto De Ramos was the first University Registrar. See, Norberto De Ramos V., I Walked with Twelve UST Rectors (Quezon City: Alfredo G. Ablaza and Christina De Ramos Ablaza, 2000), 44.
36 35


Edades described it as “practically dead.”

There were no galleries or art Edades

associations and the few that have been formed were short-lived.

further observed that artists were given scant attention or encouragement because art was considered at that time a mere vocation and not a profession. Only caricatures, especially political cartoons, flourished in those days owing to the nationwide agitation for independence as well as the rise of political parties. There were no new ideas in art. Edades’ returned to the Philippines, introduced modern arts and triggered, in the words of Galo B. Ocampo, “the most significant movement in the history of Philippine art. It was a movement that led to a change of cultural value, from the old to the new concepts of Modern Art.”37 While the country’s economy was progressing, the development of Philippine arts was on a stand still. It was against this political, economic,

social, and cultural backdrop that the idea to launch the UST School of Fine Arts was hatched and actually implemented. The Launching of the UST Fine Arts School As the Philippine economy continued to prosper, construction of new business buildings ensued and old ones were remodeled. These activities
Galo Ocampo, Religious Element in Philippine Arts (Manila: University of Santo Tomas Museum, 1965), 26.


necessitated designing and remodeling works that created career opportunities for professional workers trained in the field. The demand for professional

interior and industrial designers rose as investors riding on the wake of ongoing economic prosperity went on a construction and remodeling binge. Business was booming and as investors hurried to market their products and services, commercial artists became sought-after workers. Victorio C. Edades: Today the services of interior decorators and teachers of art or that of the industrial and commercial artists are badly needed. Never before has there been greater building activity, not to mention remodeling of interiors of buildings of all kinds. This creates an immense opportunity for well-trained and cultured designers either as independent designers [italics mine] or in collaboration with architects.38 Manuel S. Rustia, Assistant Director of the Bureau of Commerce, welcomed the proposal by the UST administrators to establish their own school of fine arts. He wrote Director Edades a letter that said he sincerely hope the training at the new school of fine arts will correct, through its students, the erroneous notion of what is beautiful, the penchant for formal symmetry, and According to

The purpose of establishing the new school of arts was explained by Victorio Edades, at that time the Director of the UST Department of Architecture, in an interview with the Varsitarian. See, Victorio Edades, Purposes Behind New School of Arts Revealed, The Varsitarian, Vol. VIII, No. 8 (Manila: University of Santo Tomas Press, 1935), 5.



the popular tendency towards the gaudy instead of the simple. He made this comment because according to him: …the most common lamentations that we hear concerning many of our household and industry products today is that, while they represent difficult, tedious, and skilled workmanship, yet many times the finished product falls short of the standard because it lacks that artistic taste and balance which could have been easily overcome were the creators imbued with even the most elementary spirit of what is really pleasing to the eyes.39 The launching of the new fine arts school by the Dominicans was thus viewed by some government functionaries as a welcome development. It

would not only expectedly meet the increasing demands for professionals in that field but was also hoped to influence reforms in the condition of Philippine arts. The School’s Mission Meanwhile, the Dominicans owners of the University of Santo Tomas also made known their intentions for the launching of their fine art school. These were expressed by then Rector-Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Serapio Tamayo during the speech which he delivered before Architecture faculty and students. The occasion for that speech was an art exhibit held on February 24, 1934. In




that speech Fr. Tamayo lamented the decadence of ideals, which he said were responsible for the deplorable state of arts during that time. He noted that: …modern society considers the sciences and the arts and their progress and achievements, only as a means of increasing material gains and pleasures. For this materialistic age of ours, the spiritualism, the high ideals of the human heart don’t count for anything. In this regard, we are turning back rapidly to the Pre-Christian era of paganism.40 Fr. Tamayo argued that Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Music, and Poetry were dignified, spiritualized, and raised to a level, unsuspected in the times of paganism, only after the advent of Christianity. Artists then, who he described as those privileged men and women, felt in their souls the ideals of the beautiful and the perfect in their artistic conception. They (the artists) have fertile sources of inspirations in the ideas of an Almighty and living God, the divine person of our Lord Jesus Christ, the sovereign Mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Angels, the Saints, and all and every one of the supernatural mysteries of our Christian religion. However, instead of drawing inspiration

from the supernatural mysteries of our Christian religion, today’s artists, according to him, contemplated the renewing of the worship of the golden calf.

Modern Society is demoralized and sick because it is lacking in Ideals Says Father Rector in Atelier Speech, The Varsitarian, Vol. VIII, No. 7, March 12, 1934 (Manila: University of Santo Tomas Press, 1934), 1.



This, Fr. Tamayo said, made our society demoralized because it is influenced by decadent ideals.41 According to Fr. Tamayo, Filipinos should cultivate the fine arts if they aspire to build a refined civilization. He exhorted his audience to ignore being called dreamers or visionaries by those whose ambitions are only of material wealth and pleasures. The human soul, he said, enjoys much more the

spiritual satisfaction derived from pure feelings and artistic works.42 With that speech, the Dominican owners of the University of Santo Tomas, through Fr. Tamayo, have set the parameters within which the mission of the soon-to-be launched school of Fine Arts should revolve - the training of Christian artists. To ensure that this mission is faithfully carried out Religion subjects were introduced in the curricula of the School’s course offering.43 Arts Education by the Early Dominicans The launching of a fine arts school by the Dominicans did not come as a surprise because ever since the beginning of their Philippine apostolate in 1581 they have developed the use of art to communicate tenets of the Catholic faith.

41 42 43

Ibid. Ibid., 2.

The School of Architecture: Curriculum, General Bulletin of the University of Santo Tomas 1934-1935 and 1935-1936 (Manila: UST Press, 1936), 188-189.


Early Dominicans used art to overcome the initial difficulty in communicating with non-Spanish speaking natives. They were among the first group of They accomplished it by

Spaniards to teach Western arts to the natives.

forming groups of apprentices for art lessons and the Dominican who was in the thick of this activity from 1587 to 1590 was Father Juan de Cobo, O.P. He was one of the Dominicans friars assigned to the service of the Parian - a ghetto outside the walls of Intramurus where Chinese who have not converted to Christianity lived during the Spanish Period. Fr. Cobo taught arts to many of them, including; painting of images, and cutting and sewing altar clothes.44 Another Dominican who was designated and worked as painter in the Philippines in 1703 was Fr. Francisco de la Maza. Fr. Pablo Fernandez, O.P. described him as a painter and a musician. Four decades later in 1743, Fr. Juan de Santo Tomas came. According to Fr. Pablo Fernandez, O.P. he was an admirable poet and a great painter who, in the time it takes to recite the Creed, could draw a perfect figure of anything that fancied him using only his pen.45

44 45

Patrick D. Flores, Painting History: Revisions in Philippine Colonial Art, 144-145

Pablo Fernandez, O.P., History of the Church in the Philippines, 1521-1898 (Manila: National Book Store, 1979), 409.


In 1785, the Dominicans made the first attempt to invest art and painting with academic value and formal presence and not merely an accessory to missionary work. That year when Fr. Juan Amador was Rector-Chancellor of the University of Santo Tomas, the Academia de Bellas Artes was opened. The school, however, was not firmly established and its influence was not farreaching for it was founded as an experiment of sort. Its training on painting functioned only for a short time because there were few enrollees to that course.46 The Academia later became one of the Estudios de Adorno that existed in the University of Santo Tomas, Ateneo de Manila, and Colegio de San Juan de Letran.47 Thus in 1935, the Dominicans of the University of Santo Tomas merely reestablished their fine art school with the primary goal of meeting the ever-present and increasing demand for good Catholic artists. It is to be an institution designed to conform to the latest and most advanced artistic theories and practices. More importantly, however, it must inculcate Christian ideals that Dominicans deemed necessary and indispensable for the efficient and ethical practice of the arts profession.
Evergisto Bazaco O.P., History of Education in the Philippines (Manila: University of Santo. Tomas Press, 1953), 148 Galo Ocampo, Religious Element in Philippine Arts (Manila: University of Santo Tomas Museum, 1965), 26.
47 46


Organization and Administration The UST school of Fine Arts was first launched as part of the College of Engineering for administrative exigency. It was integrated with the

Department of Architecture with which it shared common subjects and faculty members. The two departments were so closely linked with each other since the beginning that during the proposal to separate the two institutions in 2000, an interim agreement of cooperation was required to cushion the newly emerging institutions from the difficulties in the transition period. This

agreement included temporary sharing of personnel until such time that the new academic unit has acquired or trained enough work force; and have completed its roster of teachers.48 In its early stages, the two departments also shared the same Director, Professor Victorio C. Edades, who administered the activities of both departments under the direction of the Dean of the College of the Engineering. Engineer Alberto Guevarra, acting dean of the College of Engineering,49 and Victorio C. Edades, Director of the Department of Architecture were the first administrators of the school of fine arts. The tasks of running the day-to-day
48 49

The Committee on Proposal Preparation, Projection of the Five-Year Development Plan, TMs, 8.

Engineer Alberto Guevarra took over in acting capacity after Rev. Fr. Roque Ruaño, O.P. died due to a massive heart attack on March 1, 1935. See, Fidel Villarroel, O.P., Four Centuries of Higher Education in the Philippines: A History of the University of Santo Tomas, Vol. 2, (Manila: University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2012), 344


affairs and the accomplishment of the declared institutional mission were thrust into the hands of these individuals. Their most pressing tasks during that time were the formulation of the department’s educational programs and the organization of the formal structure required to ensure that institutional goals and objectives were achieved.50 The opening of the new courses in fine arts was part of the expansion program initiated by the then Rector and Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Serapio Tamayo, O.P. In this, he was ably assisted by Secretary General Fr. Juan Labrador, O.P. As the Rector Magnificus’ his right-hand man, Fr. Labrador carried the brunt of the works involved in expansion work. He was later transferred in 1936 to become Rector of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Fr. Tamayo himself was replaced by Fr. Silvestre Sancho, O.P., as Rector Magnificus, on July 25, 1936.51 Director Victorio C. Edades Special mention has to be made of Victorio Edades for his important contributions to the school’s transformation. Professor Edades joined the
John Meyer and Brian Rowan, Institutionalized Organization: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony, The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 42. The title “Rector Magnificus” would later on be changed into “Rector” during the administration of Fr. Leonardo Legaspi, O.P. See, Norberto De Ramos, I Walked with Twelve UST Rectors (Quezon City: Alfredo G. Ablaza and Christina De Ramos Ablaza, 2000), 67.
51 50


University of Santo Tomas faculty in 1930, upon recommendation by the renowned Guillermo Tolentino to Fr. Juan Labrador, O.P. Edades helped in the establishment of the Department of Architecture that year and eventually became its Director.52 Fortunately for UST, Edades’ application to teach at the UP School of Fine Arts was turned down by Dean Fabian de la Rosa. The reasons being his modern ideas and outlook, which Fabian de la Rosa believed would not have blended with the conservative UP faculty. He politely told Edades that his MA made him overqualified for the position.53 Victorio C. Edades was the leader of the revolutionary Thirteen Moderns who engaged their classical compatriots in heated debate over the nature and function of art. He traveled to the United States and enrolled at the University of Washington where he took up architecture and later earned a Master of Fine Arts in Painting. His encounter with the traveling exhibition from the New York Armory Hall was the significant event that stirred Edades and made him as what he is known now. This art show presented modern European artists such as Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso and the Surrealists. His growing appreciation to

Purita Kalaw-Ledesma and Amadis Ma. Guerrero, Edades: National Artist (Manila: Filipinas Foundation for Security Bank and Trust Co., 1979), 49.




what he saw veered him away from the conservative Impressionistic and Realistic schools and thus he began to paint in the modern manner.54 During his journey to America, he participated in art competitions, one of which was the Annual Exhibition of North American Artists. His entry The Sketch (1927) won second prize. When he returned to the Philippines in 1928, he saw that the state of art was “practically dead,” so in December, Edades bravely mounted a one-man show at the Philippine Columbia Club in Ermita. His objective was to introduce to the masses what his modern art was all about. He showed thirty paintings, including those that won acclaim in

America. It was a distinguished exhibit, for the Filipino art circle was suddenly shaken by what this young man from Pangasinan had learned from his studies abroad. Viewers and critics were apparently shocked and not one painting was sold.55 Although already highly regarded as a painter during that time, Edades was not as popular as Fernando Amorsolo was. His paintings were branded as ugly by some art critics of that time because of his adherence to modernism. 56 The struggles of Edades to instill modernism in Philippine painting yielded
54 55 56

Ibid., 50. Ibid. Ibid., 53.


positive results only in 1934.

This was after Architect Juan Nakpil

commissioned him to paint a mural to decorate the lobby of the Capitol Theater with two other painters, Carlos “Botong” Francisco and Galo Ocampo, as his assistants. The mural entitled “The Rising Philippines,” gained critical acclaim and was lauded by the Philippines Herald in its issue of January 2, 1935 for being excellently conceived and highly original.57 The artistic success of Edades, Francisco, and Ocampo immediately spread among the artists’ circle. increased. Soon, the demand for their services

Even President Quezon hired him to execute a mural with an

international theme in his residence. Private business offices also sought his services, along with those of his collaborators Francisco and Ocampo. This event triggered the press war between Victorio Edades and Ariston Estrada through an article written by A. B. Saulo entitled “A Modernist Talks on Local Art” which was subtitled “Prof. Edades Says Idealism is Obsolete, Absurd.” It inflamed established artists and academicians and started the first phase of the controversy that pitted Modernist against Academic artists.58 In the ensuing exchange of press articles, Rev. Fr. Labrador, O.P. asked Edades to see him. Fr. Labrador simply admonished Edades not to touch upon
57 58

Lydia R. Ingle, Kites and Visions (Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1980), 60. Ibid.


religion in his press war against Estrada because that subject was the latter’s forte and gently warned that Estrada was a man with markedly contrary streak in his character. For the rest, Labrador implied that the Dominicans had

implicit trust in Edades’ judgment. This episode was an indication of where University of Santo Tomas administration stood in the controversy.59 The debate was continued by other artists and critics who joined in the fray. Fernando Amorsolo chose to keep silent during the press war. Guillermo Tolentino joined in the fray but wrote Edades a note saying that he did not want to argue with him in the paper. Edades replied that it would benefit the public as well as their respective students from the University of the Philippines and the University of Santo Tomas. Therefore, they went ahead and published their individual views in the paper.60 The Dominicans decided to entrust the unenviable task of administering their newly established school to Victorio Edades. They needed someone of Edades’ stature, a bona fide artist, someone that could lend prestige to the institution. Someone with the administration savvy and leadership who would lead it to the direction it should rightfully thread and imbue it with its distinct character and identity. Eventually history would tell us that University officials’
59 60

Ibid, 64. Kalaw-Ledesma and Ma Guerrero, Edades: National Artist, 98.


decision turned out to be a wise one.

The UST school of Fine Arts is

considered the bulwark of modernism in visual arts because of Edades. Former President Ferdinand Marcos would bestow on him the National Artist Award in 1976. In the National Artist Award citation, he called Edades as the “original iconoclast of Philippine Art who changed the direction of Philippine painting, decisively ending the parochial isolation of Philippine art and placing it in the mainstream of international culture.” The citation continued that Edades

“created the necessary bridge between the past and the present; this is an achievement worthy of several lifetimes.”61 In this sense, the citation

concluded, that he is the true father of Modern Philippine Painting. The First Fine Arts Curriculum When Director Edades designed the curriculum for the Department of Fine Arts he was guided by the American curricula on fine arts existing at that time. As he originally envisioned, the course of Bachelor in Fine Arts covered 4 years of intensive training in both fine arts and design theories and practices. The curriculum composition. offered standard subjects like drawing, painting and

Because Edades himself was grounded in the Humanities, he

made the study of Western and Oriental art history part of that curriculum

Ingle, Kites and Visions, 87.


alongside subjects on foreign languages (Spanish and French). Edades’ reason for this decision was to fill the students with a thorough knowledge, sense of history, as well as awareness of the progress of art in other countries. The curriculum also included an optional offering of science subjects, such as, Zoology and Botany.62 Students may choose from two areas specialization, Interior Design and Public School Arts. Interior Design was offered in order to meet the demands for professional interior designers due to construction and remodeling activities that were greater than ever. Public School Art on the other hand was,

according to Director Edades, an answer to the immediate need of preparing future teachers of art for private and public schools.63 Edades revealed in The Varsitarian interview that the new School would also offer vocational courses to interested students. He explained that: Under the Department of Public School Art is also a branch, which takes care of students, who, due to financial difficulties can only study for a year or so. This branch is called Commercial Art Course. Any student can register in any of our short courses such as, Lettering Posters, Metal Work, Industrial Design and Window Display Design. These vocational courses needless, to say, are timely and in keeping with our present economic mindedness. Commercial Art is the right hand of modern
Visitacion De La Torre, “Victorio C. Edades: Father of Modern Philippine Painting,” The National Artists of the Philippine, Nestor O. Jardin, et. al., eds., (Pasig City: National Artists of the Philippines co-published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Anvil Publishing Inc, 1998), 131.
63 62

Edades, Purpose Behind New School of Arts, Revealed, 5.


business. Today art in merchandising is as important as production. Students are trained in correct art uses in merchandising.64 These vocational courses were the precursors of the Industrial Design and Advertising Design courses being offered by the institution today. It is must be mentioned here that the UST school of fine arts was not the first formal institution to offer training on applied arts. Fifteen years earlier in 1920, the University of the Philippines School of Fine Arts has already included in its curriculum, Graphic Design subjects, such as, Scenography, Poster Making, Editorial Illustration, and Cartooning to its students. These courses were

offered as elective subjects.65 What sets it apart from its UP counterpart was that the method of teaching being followed in the school is patterned after that of the best universities of Europe and America. In this method, students were given personal and individual criticisms particularly in design, freehand drawing, and color rendering courses.66 Public School Arts Edades was determined to make students thoroughly grounded in the Humanities. He also wanted them gain knowledge and cultivate sense of
64 65


Ruben Defeo and Patrick D. Flores, Forming Lineage: The National Artists for Visual Arts of the University of the Philippines (Quezon City: Office of the President, University of the Philippines, 2008), 16. Office of the Secretary General, Public School Art Curriculum, 1934-1935, 1935-1936 General Bulletin of the University of Santo Tomas (Manila: UST Press, 1936), 188-189.


history. More importantly, Edades wanted the students become aware of the progress of art in other countries. In order to do achieve these objectives, the newly formulated curriculum for the Public School Arts course was developed to include General Education subjects, such as, Sciences with Laboratory, English, Spanish, Psychology, and History. Additionally, students were required to take three Electives where they may chose any of these subjects, History, Sociology, Furniture Design, and Life Drawing.

TABLE 3 GENERAL EDUCATION SUBJECTS: PUBLIC SCHOOL ART Subject English Spanish History Psychology Laboratory Electives Religion Physical Education Units 12 12 15 3 10 12 8 (4)

Source: Public School Art Curriculum, 1934-1935, 1935-1936 General Bulletin of the University of Santo Tomas, 188.




Because the declared objective of the course on Public School Art was to train students to become teachers of art appreciation in the private and public schools, students had to complete 28 units of Education subjects. These

subjects were; Introduction to Education, History of Education, Educational Psychology, Educational Sociology, Methods of Teaching Public School Art, and Observation and Practice Teaching. School administrators have designed these subjects to train and equip students with the knowledge, attitude, and skills in the art of teaching. Additionally, the focus of the training on secondary education is evident on the choice of Education subjects that were included in the curriculum. For example, Table 4, which lists all Education subjects included Education 3, a three-unit lecture taken during the first semester on the third year and was described as a course on the Principles of Secondary Education. This would be reinforced later by Education 9, which was a subject on the psychology of adolescents and was to be taken up in the second semester of the third year. Six units of Education 20 (Lectures and Project) followed. These subjects were courses on Methods of Teaching Public School Art. During the first semester, students had lectures and in the following semester had to complete assigned


projects.68 In the second semester of their final year, students of Public School Arts were required to take Education 5b, a 4-unit subject entitled Observation and Practice Teaching where students to underwent actual classroom observations and capped by the final requirement of actual practice teaching. TABLE 4 PUBLIC SCHOOL ARTS EDUCATION SUBJECTS Subjects Edu. A Introduction to Education Edu. 1 History of Education Edu. 6 Educational Psychology Edu. 8 Educational Sociology Edu. 3 Principles of Secondary Education Edu. 9 Psychology of Adolescence Edu. 20 Method of Teaching Public School Arts Edu. 5b Observation & Practice Teaching Total Units 3 3 3 3 3 3 6 4 28

Source: Public School Art Curriculum, 1934-1935, 19351936 General Bulletin of the University of Santo Tomas, 188.

Subjects in the major areas (see Table 5) were coded “P.S.D.” or Painting, Sculpture, and Design. Public School Arts students were required to take 42 units of thesis subjects as part of their training in both fine arts and

Ibid., 197.


design. These were basic fine arts and design subjects and pre-requisites for more advanced fine arts training on Art Structure. This served the purpose of providing Public School Art students with the basic skills and knowledge needed to teach arts appreciation in the public schools. Art Structure subjects (PSD 11 and PSD 12) for instance, were merely studies on “principles and design in line, dark and light, and color to develop the power of appreciation and the ability to create good design. In fact, we will find out later on that there were PSD

subjects common to Public School Arts and Interior Design, like PSD 11 and PSD 12 - they have similar titles, coded in the same way, and offered during the first semester of the first year. However, these subjects were treated

differently in the number of units to be earned. This meant that Public School Art students spent less time on the subject as compared to Interior Design students taking the same.69 TABLE 5 PUBLIC SCHOOL ARTS P.S.D. SUBJECTS Subjects P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. 11 13 15 12 Art Structure Freehand Drawing Color Theory & Drawing Art Structure Units 3 3 3 3




TABLE 5 - continued PUBLIC SCHOOL ARTS P.S.D. SUBJECTS Subjects P.S.D. 14 Freehand Drawing P.S.D. 16 Color Theory & Drawing P.S.D. 21 Metal Work P.S.D. 23 Pottery P.S.D. 22 Industrial Art P.S.D. 24 Art Appreciation P.S.D. 31a Lettering and Posters P.S.D. 32 Elements of Interior Design P.S.D. 41 History of Painting & Sculpture P.S.D. 43 Illustration Total Units 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 42

Source: Public School Art Curriculum, 1934-1935, 19351936 General Bulletin of the University of Santo Tomas, 188.

Architecture subjects were also taught in the Public School Art curriculum, Architecture 351 and Architecture 352. These subjects were taken during the third year, first and second semesters respectively. The General Bulletin of 1934-1936 described these subjects as “illustrated lectures from the primitive art to the modern ornaments placing much emphasis on the historic periods in the history of arts” which were basic Architecture courses.70 It must be noted that as mentioned earlier, Architecture subjects have been part the




fine arts curriculum. In view of these subjects, the Schools of Architecture and the School of Fine Arts shared their faculty members. The long history of the two departments being linked together for 65 years could be attributed to these facts. Interior Design One of the two initial course offerings of the UST School of Fine Arts was Interior Design. As earlier stated, this course was offered in response to the rising demand at that time for professional interior designers. In this

course, students were trained to be individual designers with sufficient technical skills to be able to translate a design concept into a three dimensional reality. The demand for this expertise according to Prof. Edades was brought about by the spate of constructions and remodeling of buildings during that period. Like the Public School Art, a four-year course led to the degree of Bachelor in Fine Arts. Its subjects as shown in Table 6 below were fewer in numbers than that of Public School Arts, only forty-one, but with 157 units, the course carried more weight in some subjects specially those categorized under PSD. Interior Design curriculum (see Table 6) also included twelve units of Religion subjects just like Public School Art. This was a requirement in keeping

with the School’s mandate to train Christian artists. The curriculum included subjects on foreign language. Students were given the choice between the Spanish or French language. They were required to complete eighteen units of electives and the subjects to choose from were History, Sociology, Furniture Design and Life Drawing, PSD 413 Show Window Decoration, Architecture 25 Modeling, Architecture 43-44 Figure Composition. TABLE 6 INTERIOR DESIGN SUBJECT AREAS General Education English Spanish or French Major Programs P.S.D. Architecture H.E. Textile Other Subjects Electives Religion Units 6 12 Units 69 28 3 Units 18 8

Source: Public School Art Curriculum, 19341936 General Bulletin of the University of Santo Tomas, 188.

The list of major area subjects in Interior Design is shown in Table 7 below and it appears heavy on PSD with 69 units. Although the course was designed to train and educate graduates to be professional interior designers, it carried subjects relating to the fine arts, such as, Freehand Drawing, Color

Theory and Drawing, Life, Art Appreciation, and the History of Painting and Sculpture. The absence of Education subjects meant that these graduates

would not find employment in the private or public schools as teachers of art appreciation. Instead, they were trained to work in private and commercial establishments as interior designers. TABLE 7 INTERIOR DESIGN MAJOR SUBJECTS Subjects P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. P.S.D. 11 Art Structure 13 Freehand Drawing 15 Color Theory & Drawing 12 Art Structure 14 Freehand Drawing 16 Color Theory & Drawing 211 Furniture Design 211 Furniture Design 311 Interior Design 11 Art Structure 13 Freehand Drawing 15 Color Theory & Drawing 12 Art Structure 14 Freehand Drawing 16 Color Theory & Drawing 211 Furniture Design 211 Furniture Design 311 Interior Design Subjects Total Units 5 3 3 5 3 3 5 5 5 5 3 3 5 3 3 5 5 5 Units 69

Source: Interior Design Curriculum, 1934-1935, 19351936 General Bulletin of the UST, 189.


Just like their counterparts in the Public School Arts, Interior Design students were also required to take Architecture subjects as part of its curriculum (see Table 8). However, while Public School Art students have to complete six units of these Architecture subjects, Interior Design students have to complete twenty-eight units from as early as the second year. This is an additional evidence to prove that the linking of the departments of Fine Arts and Architecture since 1935 had operational and organizational bases. TABLE 8 ARCHITECTURE SUBJECTS FOR INTERIOR DESIGN Subjects Arch. 15 Design Grade 1a Arch. 351 History of Ornaments Arch 121 Graphics Arch. 16 Design Grade 1b Arch. 352 History of Ornaments Arch. 122 Graphics Arch. 18 History of Architecture Arch. 21 History of Architecture Arch. 22 History of Architecture Total Units 5 3 3 5 3 3 2 2 2 28

Source: Interior Design Curriculum, 1934-1935, 19351936 General Bulletin of the University of Santo Tomas, 189.


Enrollment Over at the UP School of Fine Arts, elementary students were allowed to enroll. The only requirement for them to pass a procedure that showed talent and marked proficiency.71 On the other hand, since its establishment, students seeking admission to the UST school of fine arts were already required to present a high school diploma or its equivalent and had to be issued by schools or colleges duly authorized by the government.72 But this is not saying that advanced students were refused entry. Milagros Icasiano, for instance, was listed as a second year student, Febo Claro and Molave Peralta as third year, and Jose Puyat was a fourth year. Just like at the state university, these

students were allowed advanced standing upon presentation of certificate of honorable dismissal from the College last attended, and a certified record of his work done in that college.73 According to Director Edades, about a dozen first year students enrolled when the UST School of Fine Arts first opened in 1935.74 Various unofficial

Cristino Jamias, The University of the Philippines: The First Half Century (Quezon City: University of the Philippines, 1963), 16. The initial admission requirements to the School of Fine Arts were the same as those for the Faculty of Engineering. See, “Faculty of Civil Engineering: Requirement for Admission,” General Bulletin 1935-1936 (Manila: University of Santo Tomas Press, 1936), 215. School of Architecture and Fine Arts, 1934-1935, 1935-1936 General Bulletin of the University of Santo Tomas, 184-198.
74 73 72

Victorio Edades, Silver Jubilee Souvenir Collection (Manila: UST Press, 1960), 4


school histories have echoed that information but records obtained from the Office of the University Registrar shows that it had in fact 16 students (both first year and advance students) during the first year of operation.75 Institutional Culture Aside from the formal and usually explicitly stated, or defined, tasks and rules, there is an important implicit and informal dimension of an institution the institutional culture. Institutional culture includes the informal attitudes, values, norms, and the spirit that pervade an institution. It determines the manner in which activities in an institution are undertaken.76 The institutional culture of the UST School of Fine Arts was influenced by the Catholic Church and the Dominican hierarchy. This is not saying that no other institutions within its organizational field have contributed to its cultural enrichment but these were the two most important and principal influences that helped shape its values, attitudes, norms and emotions. It was clear from the very start and from the stated objectives enunciated by Rector Magnificus Fr. Serapio Tamayo, O.P. that students

75 76

Data supplied by University Registrar’s Office.

Seumas Miller, Accounts of Social Institution, Social Institutions, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta ed., URL =, accessed 20 May 2012.


enrolled in the School will be trained to become Catholic artists. Thus, for the students to be imbibed with Catholic norms and values is no longer debatable. Moreover, for the new School, being owned and managed by the Dominicans, it was inevitable that it will adopt the Order’s rites and rituals that were already incorporated in the University throughout centuries of its existence. As an

example, one such institutionalized University tradition is the Discurso de Apertura. It consists of the reading of a scientific paper by its author at the formal opening of the school year: SA BAWAT pagbubukas ng akademikong taon, ginaganap ang Discurso de Apertura (talumpating pambungad) upang magsilbing gabay ng mga Tomasino sa buong taon. Ayon kay Regalado Trota-Jose, archivist ng Unibersidad, taong 1865 sinimulan ang taunang Discurso de Apertura.77 Students of the School of Fine Arts and members of other academic units throughout the UST system have experienced and adopted the Catholic and Dominican cultures and eventually integrated them into their own. In a sense, all University of Santo Tomas students share the same values, norms, and emotions, making all of them “Thomasians.” However, students of the

UST School of fine Arts were not just another “Thomasian” but they were “Thomasian Artists.” This is where the Modernist tradition that was inspired by
Elora Joselle F. Cangco, Discurso de Apertura: Balik-tanaw, The Varsitarian,, accessed 07/09/2012, 1:36 PM.


Victorio Edades and that the UST School of Fine Arts itself espoused manifested itself in the shaping of the members of the organization. It made them

“Thomasian Artists” which distinguished them not only from the rest of the UST student body but also, from students of the UP School of Fine Arts and all other arts institutions for that matter. As modernists, they were everything that UP students were not at that time. At that time, they represented progress while students of the state university represented stagnation. What set them apart from other art students, according to former Director Galo Ocampo, was their “courage to experiment in artistic expression present reality as he sees it in his own way.” Ocampo continued that as Modernists, Thomasian artists used art to express his emotion and not merely as a photographic likeness of nature. A Thomasian artist is able to express his individual emotion and created in that distinctive form that best interprets his own experience. He pried himself away from his comfort zones in order to find pleasure in the visible qualities of even the commonest object of everyday life: to use color, structurally, to investigate every department of our environment, which directly affects experience, and to blend and integrate all our impressions with our Oriental heritage and our Christian culture.78


Ocampo, Religious Element in Philippine Art, 5.


The decision by University officials to espouse modernism through Victorio C. Edades put the UST school of fine arts at the forefront of the most significant movement in the history of Philippine arts. It gave the institution a “soul” and filled it with an innovative “attitude.” Later on, in recognition of these achievements, the University of Santo Tomas conferred on Edades on February 12, 1977, the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts, Honoris Causa.79 Summary This chapter shows that the decision of University officials in 1935 to launch the school of fine arts and offer design courses is consistent with sociological institutionalism in assuming that organizations are open systems, which are strongly influenced by their environments.80 The improved Philippine economy brought about by the inverse effect of the Great Depression and the establishment of the Commonwealth encouraged the Dominican owners of the University of Santo Tomas to continue with expansion program that they started in 1927. The acquisition of the university property at Sulucan, the

subsequent construction of buildings, the eventual transfer to the new campus,

79 80

Ingle, Kites and Visions, 88.

Edward Alan Miller and Jane Banaszak-Holl, Cognitive and Normative Determinants of State Policymaking Behavior: Lessons from the Sociological Institutionalism, Publius, vol. 35, no. 2 (Oxford University Press, 2005), 195, .Accessed: 16/10/2011 20:01


and the establishment of the School of Architecture paved the way for the launching of the fine arts school.81 The stagnant state of the arts during that period was an added incentive. Together, these institutional forces were instrumental in the decision to launch and dictated how the school was to be established. To meet the increasing demand for art professionals in the field of design, the school offered a four-year course leading to the degree of Bachelor in Fine Arts with specialization in Interior Design and vocational courses Commercial Arts, such as, Lettering Posters, Metal Work, Industrial Design and Window Display Design. To meet the challenges bringing Philippine art up-todate with the rest of the world, the school offered Public School Arts, introduced a formal arts curriculum and conferred bachelor’s degree upon course completion. It was a pioneering set up then and had no comparison with any educational institution operating during that time. As an added

measure, Victorio Edades was appointed as the school director to ensure achievement of these institutional goals. Moreover, consistent with their religious apostolate, the Dominicans made sure that even with the innovations introduced, students were trained in
Pablo Fernandez, O.P., Dominicos Donde Nace el Sol: Historia dela Provincia Del Santissimo Rosario de Filipinas de la Orden de Predicatores, (Barcelona, Talleres Graficos Yuste, 1598), 553-556.


the tenets of the Catholic Church. In this regard, provisions were made to include the teaching of Religion subjects to all students enrolled in all fine and applied arts programs. At this point in its history, the school has not yet made much impact as students still flock to the UP School of Fine Arts. Until that time, it was still the preferred institution for fine arts and design because it had been for the past 27 years the premier arts school in the country. It did not charge tuition fees, and more importantly, it boasted the likes of Fabian de la Rosa, Fernando Amorsolo, and Guillermo Domingo - giants in the Philippine arts during that time, among their faculty. The much-publicized controversy between the

Moderns and the Conservative has not yet taken place as Edades was still establishing his artistic influence in 1935. Moreover, the University of the

Philippines School of Fine Arts had already been teaching Graphic Design subjects such as Scenography, Poster Making, Editorial Illustration, and Cartooning to its students since 1920. However, the school has already introduced to the world of Philippine art education the following innovations: the conferment of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, the use of a formal Fine Arts curriculum, and the requirement of a high


school diploma for admission. The state university and all other art institutions that followed would later adopt these innovations.