Art Association of the Philippines (AAP)
The Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) is an organization founded with the goal of providing a support system for artists through exhibitions and contests. It was formed through the efforts of art collector Purita Kalaw-Ledesma in 1948. It eventually became the largest art group in the Philippines. Among the artists who got their break through the semi-annual and annual exhibitions and prizes were Carlos "Botong" Francisco, Cesar Legaspi, H.R. Ocampo and Vicente Manansala.
Kalaw intially intended the organization to be a UP School of Fine Arts alumni association. She met with little support from the School of Fine Arts professors in gathering members, but she was given the names of alumni to invite, among them Emilio Aguilar Cruz and Virginia Flor Agbayani. They, along with Ramon Peralta Jr. and Nemesio Faustino. Candido Alcantara was the recording secretary and Purita Kalaw-Ledesma was elected president while Peralta was appointed executive secretary. Many artists heard about the first meeting and came even if they were not UP graduates or students. Next meeting, Hernando Ocampo and Cesar Legaspi were present. It was decided that since many of the artists who wanted to join were not UP graduates, rather than an alumni association the group would be known as the Art Association of the Philippines.
At a time when modern art was still looked upon with doubt, the AAP encouraged it, despite a walkout of conservative artists during one AAP exhibit. In addition to exhibitions and contests, the AAP has encouraged artists through scholarships. All in all, the AAP has helped in increasing the prominence of Philippine art and contributed to more awareness and responsiveness to the needs of Filipino artists. Recognizing her contribution to the arts through the founding of this organization, the NCCA declared Purita Kalaw-Ledesma as “Dangal ng Haraya”.