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Press Release


Painting class with artist Geraldine Martinez-Benz
in celebration of National Arts Month

Consul Ryan Pondoc (standing 5th from left) and Cultural Officer Richard Osea (seated right) pose with Filipino-American artist Geraldine Martinez-Benz
(standing 6th from left) and the students of the first painting class held at the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago on 19 February 2022.

Chicago, 22 February 2022 – In celebration of the National Arts Month, the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago organized a painting class on 19 February 2022 with Ms. Geraldine Martinez-Benz, a Filipino-American artist based in Evanston, Illinois, as featured artist.

The painting class, the first of a series, was designed to introduce Philippine art to students through a fun and interactive way. The class was a successful and well-attended event with fourteen (14) students participating to learn how to paint using acrylic on canvas. Under the expert guidance of Ms. Benz, the students tried a modern take on the painting “The Fruit Gatherer” by the late Philippine National Artist Fernando Amorsolo.

Through this lesson, Ms. Benz introduced her students to a renowned Filipino artist and paid homage to his artistic contributions to Philippine art.

Filipino-American artist Geraldine Martinez-Benz (standing) supervises participating students.

After the class, the students and their parents partook of snacks from Jollibee, a Philippine fast-food company with several stores in Chicagoland. Meanwhile, Ms. Erma Cuenca-Price, a Filipino pastry chef and owner of Tropicake Chicago, provided Filipino pastries for the students.

Ms. Benz thanked the Consulate for inviting her to be part of this event. The participants expressed the hope that this could be a regular activity at the Consulate.

Ms. Benz is originally from Ormoc City, Leyte. She graduated from the University of the Philippines in Cebu City with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in Painting. She organized and facilitated several summer workshops in the Philippines sharing her love for the visual arts. Believing that art should be made accessible to all, Ms. Benz collaborated with the local DSWD and World Vision Chapters to teach street and indigent children. She has had art exhibits in Ormoc City and Illinois and has worked as a graphic designer in Manila, Cebu, Shenzhen, and Chicago. She and her fellow artists recently formed a group called SINAG to connect the Filipino-American artist community in Greater Chicago.