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ArteFino: The Fine Art Of Championing

Now in its second year, the ArteFino artisanal and crafts fair has a major problem. Is the top floor of 8 Rockwell ready to accommodate even bigger crowds than those that trooped to the exhilarating inaugural showcase last year? Perceived by many as one of the pop-up events that signal the start of the holiday buying season, ArteFino quickly established itself as a craft fair of unbelievable scope, size, and quality.

With this year’s edition rallying cry of local is the new international, ArteFino is out to show how international quality, supporting local entrepreneurs, and showcasing artisanal art can all dovetail into one exciting event. A four day endurance test for the avid shopper, there truly is much to look forward to this year, as new names in fashion and apparel, and a section called Brusco devoted to men’s clothing and accessories, are part of the features unique to this year’s edition.


As from the start of ArteFino, it’s the tireless efforts of the event’s organizers and main curators —Cedie Lopez-Vargas, Susie Quiros, Marimel Francisco, Maritess Pineda and Amita Rufino—to whom we should extend a standing ovation. Assisted this year by the likes of Wyn Wyn Ong, Gino Gonzalez, and Monchet Olives (Monchet is curating the aforementioned Brusco section); the spirit of collaboration is alive and kicking in this year’s ArteFino. 



photos by Philip Cu-Unjieng

ArteFino happens from August 30 to September 2 at 8 Rockwell. And just in case all the hobnobbing, seeing old friends, buying this or that item, enjoying the food and drinks don’t cloud your sense of wonder, do appreciate that all this is happening to directly support local communities via the HeArteFino Development Program. Especially crucial here is supporting living traditions that are dying out in particular communities as the generation that succeed these living artists decide to move to the urban sprawl or just aren’t interested in maintaining the tradition. 

Zarah Juan, the first HeArteFino grantee, puts her design efforts working with the Bagobo Tagabawa Community in Mindanao. So yes, I do joke the women behind ArteFino how it’s the most unique pop-up crafts Fair, as the tinderas are more sosyal than the ones shopping. But while I’ll say this in mock-serious jest, I’ll also salute the vision, and the altruistic spirit behind why ArteFino exists in the first place. 

It truly is time to champion the Filipino artisan and craftsman. All the vendors at ArteFino are part of creative hubs, and their success are our success. It’s just great to have vehicles such as ArteFino recognizing and supporting their efforts and helping them achieve degrees of success.