Meet Teresa (Tess) Rances, Director of the ACC Philippines Program. Reporting from Manila in its last month of lockdown, Tess shares updates on the arts, life, and ACC alumni during COVID-19. Serving as an ACC Director for the past 20 years, Tess has seen the artistic growth of generations of ACC alumni and the deep impact they’ve had on their community. “It’s an important thing, cultural exchange, understanding one’s culture--not just through reading, but that face-to-face of learning from each other...Giving them that opportunity through the ACC Fellowship and seeing them come back and make an impact in the community…[combined] with our vision and our mission being able to help as many artists as we can,” says Tess, “that’s what keeps me going.”


She speaks not only to ACC’s role in supporting artists, but also how artists can and have helped their communities during COVID-19--from education and mentorship to building online connection, fundraising, and community engagement. The Cultural Center of the Philippines (ACC 1973-2013) has launched digital programs that play a role in healing and connecting with the public, while JK Anicoche (ACC 2018) has worked with arts educators. Workshops abound with writer Glenn Mas (ACC 2015) of Virgin LabFest leading playwriting workshops, Ea Torrado’s (ACC 2016) on dance, and Myra Beltran (ACC 2011) mentoring new choreographers. As Tess put it, “Art is the most feeds the soul.”