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Mindful Missions

People Power of 1986 electrified the decade with hopefulness. On April 19, 1986 the museum opened at its new address on the ground floor of the Benpres Building in Pasig City’s Ortigas Center (title pages). Seven members from the small staff that had kept the collections intact and the services alive through critical times were on hand to awaken new programs for new times.

That same year, Roberto M. Lopez, the founder’s youngest son, became active with the foundation and expanded its modern art collection. Aside from nineteenth-century treasures, his father had owned modern art by Fernando Amorsolo (declared the first Philippine National Artist in 1972), Vicente S. Manansala (made a National Artist for Painting in 1981), Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Nena Saguil, and other painters of merit. Roberto added works including those by three painters who would later be declared National Artists: Benedicto Cabrera, Ang Kiukok, and Arturo Luz. Selections were determined with art consultant Rod. Paras Perez.

It was a decade of adjusting to the new and slightly smaller location. The Benpres Building offered improved accessibility for library and museum users and a conservation environment better than the saline, sea breeze-constrained and flood-threatened Lancaster address.

During the 1980s, seeds were sown for the museum to review its role. Stakeholders clamored for government to support the national patrimony, honor freedom of expression, and encourage creativity. The museum awakened to a complex culture scene that catalyzed the growth of public and private museums, libraries, art galleries, art contests, and publishing ventures in need of new and larger audiences as well as vigorous sponsorships. Established cultural institutions prepared for a competitive future.

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