Pereira may be the capital of the coffee region – but Manizales is without a doubt, the Culture Mecca. In what is the Colombian version of the Grammy Awards, special recognition was given to local musicians, singers and artists.

Arsis Awards 2019 – Raising the Bar

An association dedicated to the arts, Arsis is bringing new life to the local culture scene through recognition. It is also their goal to create programs to support up and coming artists. The president Luz Marina Ospina created Arsis as an organization to incentivize talent and bring it to the next level.

The awards and recognition for 2019 are as follows:

  • Guillermo Gomez “Guigo” – Violinist
  • Valentin Arias and Diana Paola Franco – Tango Dancers
  • Leonardo Marulanda – Director of the Symphonic Orchestra of Caldas
  • Felipe Chiquito – Plastic Artist/Muralist
  • Trio Cumanday – Traditional Folk Music
  • Jhon Jairo Arenas Gil – Singer/Musician
  • Dueto Reminiscencias – Singer/Pianist Duo
  • Olivia Mogollón – Pianist
  • Fabio Alberto Ramirez – Compositor

All the award recipients were recognized as having been pioneers, breaking frontiers or being an important part of the future of art/music in the Coffee Region.

Some of the notable achievers include Guillermo “Guigo” Gomez Ceron – who has performed internationally in several countries. He is known as being a dynamic showman who brings life to the event wherever his violin is played.

Dueto Reminiscencias was recognized for more than 40 years of music. Their exceptional dedication to music and performance has distinguished them on a national level.

The celebrated tango dancers Diana y Valentin, have made Manizales proud by winning Semifinalist category in the world tango championships in Argentina. They have helped to promote tango tourism as students from other countries seek them out to learn from them.

“Surgio a partir de la necesidad de movilizar el sector artistico, con el objetivo de trabajar unidos en la apropiación de los procesos culturales, así como en la sensibilizacion de los entes gubernamentales, con el fin de mostrar la cultura como un instrumento eficaz para el desarrollo y progreso social.”

Event Program – Arsis Asociación Artística

Leonardo Marulanda, who has traveled internationally as an orchestra director is setting the bar high for leadership in Classical music. He works in both Bogota and Manizales leading orchestras, but has also worked internationally in places like Vienna.

Showing an exceptional vision and leadership, Felipe Chiquita discovered that life as a soldier didn’t suit him very well. Instead of throwing in the towel he proposed a program to bring art to poor neighborhoods in the pueblos of Caldas. Today he is leading by example and fighting the war against drugs and poverty through mural art.

Olivia Mogollon was probably one of the sweetest examples of humility and appreciation. With absolutely no expectations whatsoever she came to the event, and trembled with surprise as she received an award for being a piano teacher who motivates and inspires her students to reach for the sky.

As a Social Event

It is worth mentioning that the Arsis Awards, on a social level, were a “who’s-who” of regional talent. Aside from the award recipients all the most notable dancers, musicians and artists of the region were in attendance.

Spectators included many of the local personages of the Coffee Axis, including the French Pianist Phillip O Malley, Internationally Acclaimed Painter Jose Alonso Loaiza, and even Arabela Espectaculos of Pereira, with some of her dancers. These and too many more to count, were all there to cheer on their community leaders – we hope to see them on stage one day soon as well!


These are only a few of the stories which demonstrate leadership and creativity in the Manizales “orange economy,” the economy of art, creativity and music.

We have a good feeling about some of the current programs by President Ivan Duque and local governmental organizations. Rumor has it that Colombia on both a local, regional and national level is planning to inject large sums of money into local culture economies.

The goal is to fund creative talent in order to re-create Colombia as the Silicon Valley of South America – where technology, culture, art and innovation come together.


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