• Monumental Magazine

Campus Spotlight: Q&A with Marjorie Antonio, Founder and Co-Director of FCArts

By: Danielle Escobal


As a college freshman during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult for me to create college relationships and experiences while school was online. By the end of my school day, Zoom fatigue would take over my mental and physical state. One day, however, a discord message from the Filipino Cultural Association of UMD caught me before I fell into the deep hole of aimlessly scrolling through my social media for the rest of my day. Filipino Cultural Association Arts (FCArts) had reached out for photographers and videographers to share their talents, process, and story the coming Friday. I initially signed up to share my own experience, but I stayed for the immense warmth of community, support from upperclassmen, and the rekindling of pride for myself and my art that I had seemed to lose during the pandemic. I asked Marjorie Antonio, co-director of FCArts, to hear how art has impacted her experience through the pandemic.


Can you explain your role as the Filipino Cultural Association Art (FCArts) director?


I am the founder and co-director of FCArts. We spotlight local, student, and Filipino American creatives of any medium. We wanted to give our FCA members and those within our networks a chance to share their work and talents on a (digital) platform amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This was all with the hope to foster community, culture, and creativity within FCA, at UMD, and beyond.


As co-director, I ideate programming elements, seek talents, establish partnerships, and prepare an inclusive arts-centric education presentation that all culminate in a two hour biweekly production during our Fridays with FCArts program. I am working towards my own professional goals to be a community arts organizers and scholar-activists, and FCArts has truly been the one project that brings immense joy and satisfaction when I see attendees gush over musicians, laugh along our comics, struggle to virtually learn how to make origami, or learn something new about careers and roles in the Arts world.



What inspired you to fill this role?

Over the summer of 2020, I wanted to be a part of a creative space at UMD that was specific to my Filipino American/Asian American identity. Since there was an absence of an existing organization that is specific to UMD and the DMV area for the youth/collegiate audience, I pitched the idea and potential events to FCA’s executive board. It was well-received and became an official sub-group and launched in the Fall.


What has been your favorite part of being Co-Director?


My favorite part of FCArts is the ideation stage! My co-director, Miggy, and I often have hours long meetings every week planning out the week’s program, trying to seek out and manage performers and trying to improve in marketing and partnerships. We have many ideas we want to implement — I’m so excited to organize for FCArts Fashion February and potentially bringing in Filipino American professional artists from all over the country. I also love seeing everyone’s reactions to folks’ talents! I’m always blown away by artwork, projects, and musical talents. When the first meeting ended, Miggy and I were so ecstatic because we knew we were onto something really big by cultivating this community. There is so much wealth, abundance of joy, and love in these little bi-weekly meetings.


What has been the biggest challenge?


The biggest challenge is funding for this program. As with all passion projects, things cost real money, from paying our performers and artist talks, to the Canva Pro subscription and just plain time and labor. While we can’t offer our talents and creators much, Miggy and I fund FCArts from our own wallets, which has been a financial strain on two college students. We are working on acquiring established funding and sponsorships, but it’s really hard during COVID-19, with the financial pressure on the university, and the diminishing support for the Arts programs.


What’s the best thing you’ve learned from this experience?


Arts can be a beacon of light even during a really scary and uncertain time. I love how FCA bands together to support our friends and new members, and I appreciate being a part of it. On a much less sappy note, I am learning to create programming in the virtual world - outside of in person concerts and performances, street busking, and walking the gallery floors. I am adapting and embracing what being “virtual” means in the long-run for this industry. So Zoom concerts, Instagram live showcases, origami fold-alongs, and bedroom artist talks are here to stay, and there’s so much more we are still exploring.


How has the art in your life and through FCArts impacted your quarantine experience?


2020 marks my debut into the Arts world. It’s punctuated by COVID-19. Every Arts programming project I’ve had has been implemented during quarantine - from the Not Your Model Minority exhibition at the Stamp Gallery, NextNOW Fest 2020, Channeling Your Creativity with Deepa Iyer (via MICA), and of course, with FCArts. I am starting my career digitally. It’s a bit strange because what most folks know in the industry is in-person work. A lot of elements had to be adapted to this virtual stage. I feel like creating Art for me and entertainment programs for others has changed. I feel jittery and am tired of screens. I can scroll for hours watching fifteen second clips on TikTok but struggle sitting through Zoom meetings. I am both a consumer and producer of media through my work. Yet, arts and entertainment has brought me closer to other folks who are going through the same struggles- from recovering from trauma, dealing with pressures of school and productivity culture, even questioning gender performativity and heteronormativity. I have found resonance in the arts during quarantine, and affinity through FCArts; it’s a space that is specific but not non-exclusionary, and celebrates but recognizes histories of pain and trauma in our communities.


Any final messages you’d like to share to the UMD community about FCA, FCArts, or Arts in general?


FCArts is FCA’s creative arts subgroup and we welcome everyone, any medium, any ethnicity, any age. We celebrate local, student, and/or Filipino American creatives, and are always looking to collaborate. If you would like to perform or share your work at our meetings, host a workshop, present an artist talk, and more, you can contact me at mantoni2@umd.edu and go.umd.edu/marjorie!


Can you explain your role as the Filipino Cultural Association Art (FCArts) director?


I am the founder and co-director of FCArts. We spotlight local, student, and Filipino American creatives of any medium. We wanted to give our FCA members and those within our networks a chance to share their work and talents on a (digital) platform amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This was all with the hope to foster community, culture, and creativity within FCA, at UMD, and beyond.


As co-director, I ideate programming elements, seek talents, establish partnerships, and prepare an inclusive arts-centric education presentation that all culminate in a two hour biweekly production during our Fridays with FCArts program. I am working towards my own professional goals to be a community arts organizers and scholar-activists, and FCArts has truly been the one project that brings immense joy and satisfaction when I see attendees gush over musicians, laugh along our comics, struggle to virtually learn how to make origami, or learn something new about careers and roles in the Arts world.


What inspired you to fill this role?

Over the summer of 2020, I wanted to be a part of a creative space at UMD that was specific to my Filipino American/Asian American identity. Since there was an absence of an existing organization that is specific to UMD and the DMV area for the youth/collegiate audience, I pitched the idea and potential events to FCA’s executive board. It was well-received and became an official sub-group and launched in the Fall.


What has been your favorite part of being Co-Director?


My favorite part of FCArts is the ideation stage! My co-director, Miggy, and I often have hours long meetings every week planning out the week’s program, trying to seek out and manage performers and trying to improve in marketing and partnerships. We have many ideas we want to implement — I’m so excited to organize for FCArts Fashion February and potentially bringing in Filipino American professional artists from all over the country. I also love seeing everyone’s reactions to folks’ talents! I’m always blown away by artwork, projects, and musical talents. When the first meeting ended, Miggy and I were so ecstatic because we knew we were onto something really big by cultivating this community. There is so much wealth, abundance of joy, and love in these little bi-weekly meetings.


What has been the biggest challenge?


The biggest challenge is funding for this program. As with all passion projects, things cost real money, from paying our performers and artist talks, to the Canva Pro subscription and just plain time and labor. While we can’t offer our talents and creators much, Miggy and I fund FCArts from our own wallets, which has been a financial strain on two college students. We are working on acquiring established funding and sponsorships, but it’s really hard during COVID-19, with the financial pressure on the university, and the diminishing support for the Arts programs.


What’s the best thing you’ve learned from this experience?


Arts can be a beacon of light even during a really scary and uncertain time. I love how FCA bands together to support our friends and new members, and I appreciate being a part of it. On a much less sappy note, I am learning to create programming in the virtual world - outside of in person concerts and performances, street busking, and walking the gallery floors. I am adapting and embracing what being “virtual” means in the long-run for this industry. So Zoom concerts, Instagram live showcases, origami fold-alongs, and bedroom artist talks are here to stay, and there’s so much more we are still exploring.


How has the art in your life and through FCArts impacted your quarantine experience?


2020 marks my debut into the Arts world. It’s punctuated by COVID-19. Every Arts programming project I’ve had has been implemented during quarantine - from the Not Your Model Minority exhibition at the Stamp Gallery, NextNOW Fest 2020, Channeling Your Creativity with Deepa Iyer (via MICA), and of course, with FCArts. I am starting my career digitally. It’s a bit strange because what most folks know in the industry is in-person work. A lot of elements had to be adapted to this virtual stage. I feel like creating Art for me and entertainment programs for others has changed. I feel jittery and am tired of screens. I can scroll for hours watching fifteen second clips on TikTok but struggle sitting through Zoom meetings. I am both a consumer and producer of media through my work. Yet, arts and entertainment has brought me closer to other folks who are going through the same struggles- from recovering from trauma, dealing with pressures of school and productivity culture, even questioning gender performativity and heteronormativity. I have found resonance in the arts during quarantine, and affinity through FCArts; it’s a space that is specific but not non-exclusionary, and celebrates but recognizes histories of pain and trauma in our communities.


Any final messages you’d like to share to the UMD community about FCA, FCArts, or Arts in general?


FCArts is FCA’s creative arts subgroup and we welcome everyone, any medium, any ethnicity, any age. We celebrate local, student, and/or Filipino American creatives, and are always looking to collaborate. If you would like to perform or share your work at our meetings, host a workshop, present an artist talk, and more, you can contact me at mantoni2@umd.edu and go.umd.edu/marjorie!

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