Joseph Richard III Renta, Ph.D., is the Administrator and Curator of the Museum and Archives at San Beda College Alabang, City of Muntinlupa, Philippines. Thank you, Joseph, for your membership and sharing your time and talents with us!
What’s one thing – either industry/work-related or not – you learned in the past month?
One new interesting thing I learned is how to take care of a newly born kid (baby goat). We started raising goats for petting in the artists’ wellness center we are developing. This is to foster the wholeness and well-being of artists to assist them in the creation of their art.
If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
I would choose to be one of the apprentices of Michelangelo if he had one. I’m just curious to know how he painted the Sistine Chapel which is one of my favorite places in the world. I’ve visited it so many times and I still can’t have enough of it.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee, “kapeng barako.” It’s a strong, expresso kind of coffee native to the Philippines.
Between Heaven and Mirth by James Martin, SJ. I have read it twice and it really enriches me always with that certain “sense of holy humor.” With all the uncertainties and distresses the realities of life brings, this book offers something invaluable and that is the simple joy of laughter. Truly a breath of fresh air.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A Doctor of Medicine. I had this fascination of treating and healing people when I was still a child. I however obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Cosmic Anthropology, and as a Professor in a university, for me personally it gives the same fulfillment as well.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of an academic museum?
Being with people, with our museum visitors specially with students. Sharing stories and values that can be learned from artifacts in the exhibition gives me a sense of purpose.
What are your hopes for our industry?
Working in the museum industry has always been fulfilling. In our museum, we found a way of exhibiting works of art and applying them to become a source of wellness and healing. We came up with an outreach program of aiding the marginalized communities (grassroots cases in urban poor areas and indigenous communities), especially those who have suffered trauma from violence, as an advocacy activity in the museum. Museum undertakings are designed not only to enhance artistic appreciation and skills but also to use as a form of prayer, meditation, and therapy to improve the general well-being of the person. Museum visits and workshops were aimed to provide meditative activities that improve the mental, emotional, spiritual well-being of individuals such as healing rituals through creation spirituality to relieve the trauma and violence from within. I hope museums and galleries can be more than a space for art but also a safe and sacred space for everyone.
Bonus: Do you have a favorite joke to share?
Why didn’t the artist replace the painting frame? Because he said if it is not baroque, don’t fix it!