Have you ever thought about giving gifts that give back? In all honesty, it’s not the first thing that comes to my mind when shopping for gifts. I guess that’s also because it’s not a common practice. And if shops would, it’s only a part of a promotional efforts. Good thing I recently learned about the Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development (CANVAS) and the stuff they sell.
CANVAS works with the creative community to promote children’s literacy, explore national identity, and deepen public appreciation for Philippine art, culture, and the environment. They sell cool stuff aimed at raising funds. So basically, every items bought gives back. And the merchandise they sell are ideal gifts for everyone.
To further support their fundraising efforts, the nonprofit organization created the website, www.lookingforjuan.com where one can shop for premium and meaningful gifts infused with art images of the best Filipino artists. Some of the artists that CANVAS has collaborated with include National Artist BenCab, Romeo Forbes, Elmer Borlongan, Rodel Tapaya, Farley del Rosario, Sergio Bumatay III, Jose John Santos III, Roel Obemio, Plet Bolipata, Ivee Olivares-Mellor, Liza Flores, Anthony Palomo, Joy Mallari, Don Salubayba, Liv Romualdez Vinluan, Daniel dela Cruz, Manny Garibay and Dex Fernandez.
There’s no better time to support their cause and go shopping than now, with Christmas just around the corner. During the season, the website will be running a buy-one-get-one special offer on books if you use the discount code L4JPASKO2019 before you check out. The more you buy, the bigger your contribution to the “One Million Books for One Million Filipino Children” campaign which aims to inspire in children a love for reading. To date, they have given away more than 250,000 books to communities from Ifugao to Basilan.
On the site, you will find art cards, journals, fans, notepads, art magnets, limited edition art prints, and stickers. Eco-friendly upcycled tote bags are also available, these are from CANVAS’ annual outdoor banner project in UP Sunken Garden. Requests for customized items for corporate gifts are accommodated too. These are the best gifts that give back.
But most of the listings are books for children. “Message in The Sand” is a coloring and activity storybook about a young boy who notices that the fish in the sea are disappearing. “BenCab’s Activity Book for Children” is an early introduction to the works of National Artist for Painting, Benedicto Cabrera through coloring, writing, and spot-the-difference activities, finger puppet and paper doll dress up. These are just two of a handful of titles that can be enjoyed by those four years old and up. Talking about gifts that give back, for every purchase of an activity book, two copies will be donated to underprivileged children. Really nice!
Story books with relevant themes and impactful messages are also available. These are ideally for those 9 to 12 years of age. Some are products of CANVAS’ story writing competition while others are commissioned work. All illustrated by Pinoy artists with significant following. So the books also appeal to adult art collectors.
Multi-awarded writer, Butch Dalisay’s “Why Words Matter” is among the most recently published. His reflection is complemented by the uniquely lyrical art of Marcel Antonio. “Nadia and the Blue Stars” written by Francesca Nicole Chan Torres with artworks by Liv Romualdez Vinluan already has gone from page to stage, it is a tale of hope that has been used for psychosocial therapy to help children who were forced to flee their homes, either by man-made conflict or by natural calamities, to deal with the trauma of their displacements. “Ang Aklatang Pusa” was written by Palanca Hall of Famer Eugene Evasco with artworks by award-winning painter and sculptor, Jared Yokte.
“RizalPabeto” was published in celebration of Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary. It is a collection of award-winning poet, fictionist, playwright, and essayist Vim Nadera’s poems about Rizal. He wrote one for every letter of the alphabet, which are interpreted by prominent contemporary painter, Elmer Borlongan in the tradition of letras y figuras.
All the books, whether hard bound or in soft cover, are made of high quality materials. Something anyone would be delighted to receive and proudly keep on their bookshelves or coffee tables.
Start shopping now for gifts that give back, visit www.lookingforjuan.com. For more information, follow @lookingforjuan on Instagram or log on to www.canvas.ph.