A shop that acts like a mini gallery

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

PASSING by Centro Maximo II along D. Jakosalem St., there’s this sign: Manila Art Frames. So it’s back, one thinks, though truth to tell, it has always been in the city in various locations since it opened in 1969 along F. Ramos St.

From there it moved to the Arthaus Bldg. housing the Jumalon Museum along Gorordo Ave. in 1974. When this building was sold, Manila Art Frames moved across the street to Astron Gestus Bldg.

It also changed hands: from Flora and Rogelio Pantaleon to Cely Valero. Because of increasing city traffic and parking problems, Cely decided to transfer the shop to her home in Benedicto St. in the year 2000, a place out of the mainstream of commerce but known to her regular clientele who would always choose to have their art pieces framed by this pioneering frame shop.


Early this year, on her 78th birthday on Feb. 27, Cely “reopened” Manila Art Frames in Centro Maximo II. It is a small shop where customers who need framing to be done are entertained, but the actual framing is still done in the premises of her home.

What is here are samples of the framing work done by the gallery through the display of Cely’s personal collection of art works. The place, only 34-square meters in size, is packed full of paintings and other art objects. It has been cleverly designed by Cely’s Manila-bases engineer son, Jose Daniel, to hold all these artworks: the walls are lined with steel matting seemingly from floor to ceiling so as to accommodate as many paintings as the space would allow.

There are also a half dozen abstract that swings out from one wall: these can be moved if one wants to get a better view of the paintings on display.

Among the art works one can see here are paintings by Tensie Bello, N. Cempron, Mar Vidal, Jerson Calo, Cid Reyes (of Manila; he is also an art critic), Raul Agas, Tito Cuevas, Vidal Alcoseba, Nonielucio Alvarado, Amado Hidalgo(who has Batanes beach scenes on display), the late Jose Blanco of Angono, Rizal, and Ivan Acuña.

There are two guitars hanging from the ceiling and these are ceramic art guitars (but which really play) by Mel Araneta of Bacolod. On some tables, there are brass sculptures by Michael Cacnio, works from his vendor series.

Manila Art Frames is open from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday. When one enters the place, one finds himself in a narrow hallway with some religious sculptures on display, and another door which serves as a frame for small paintings.
It’s a door that prepares one for the art within: the place may be called Manila Art Frames, but it is actually a mini art gallery featuring on semi-permanent display, the beautiful works of Cebuano and other Filipino artists.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 22, 2014.


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