1. Macalester College – exhibit of porcelain sculptures by Gary Erickson Ceramicist Gary Erickson will have an exhibition, public lecture and workshop scheduled at Concordia University – St. Paul of his Jingdezhen sculpture for November 2013. Also an exhibition, lecture and workshop will be arranged at Minnesota State University – Mankato during January of 2014 with a public lecture on how Erickson uses the influence of travel and Chinese culture in the work. The work in the exhibition will serve as points of reference and emphasis for the workshop/demonstration on techniques Erickson has learned in China. Through his exhibitions and lectures in Minnesota Erickson also looks for interesting exchanges to take place. Along with educating students and the general public he wishes these exhibitions to be a focal point for the Chinese community in Minnesota to gather and see a contemporary artist’s use of porcelain that has such a strong historic, cultural presence in China. These porcelain works will be new and unique for Minnesota audiences. Jingdezhen porcelain is significantly different in color, texture and workability than porcelains used domestically. In both venues the students and general public can gain insight into Erickson’s cross-cultural influences, the unique properties of Jingdezhen porcelain and my aesthetic decision-making. Erickson appreciates the freedoms that Minnesotans take for granted and the multi-cultural mix that is home. His goal is to share his perspective on China through the exhibition and lectures to allow others to contemplate and reflect on their lives in Minnesota and the United States. For those born in China this will be a connection to their homeland and a reflection on their China/Minnesota existence.
2. Families with Children from Asia (FCA) – FCA will host a weekend retreat to support its China-adopted children’s’ understanding of their culture. FCA wishes them to take pride in being Chinese American. The children’s’ programming will consist mostly of cultural education and activities. They will be engaged in crafts, Weiqi games, and storytelling. There will be an educational session with Kaishan Kong, a U of MN PhD student, and recipient of the 2013 President’s Student Leadership and Service Award. She will conduct a workshop about Beijing Opera for elementary school aged kids. CHF Calligraphy Committee will also participate. This retreat also serves as a chance for families to come together and make important connections.
3. Minnesota Chinese Dance Theatre (MCDT) – MCDT has identified its mission as bridging the East and the West by bringing renowned artists and dance instructors from China to teach authentic and ethnic-specific Chinese dances to students of MCDT, as well as the general public. This year, two dancers from China, Ms. Zhang Yajin and Ms. Jin Hai-ying, will present residencies and public workshops in Chinese folk dances by two Chinese artists. MCDT will present an annual concert, Dances and Music of Western China, at O’Shaughnessy Auditorium in December. The concert will also feature a folk lorist, Ms.Wu Ling, from China. Ms. Wu is a graduate of Beijing Dance Academy and currently teaches there. The goals for this year’s annual concert include: to celebrate and honor the tradition of the Chinese arts, to present to the public, Chinese dances that normally would not have been accessible outside of China, and to present what MCDT dancers have learned from the master artists of the previous years.
4. Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) – The MIA has recently come into possession twelve scrolls on paper and silk by Chinese artists. They include imperial and religious paintings in the Buddhist and Tao traditions. Unfortunately the scrolls cannot be exhibited in their current condition. The current grant will allow the MIA to restore a painting, Fragrance of the Orchids, painted by the Empress Dowager Cixi (1902) of the Qing Dynasty. It is a delicate and graceful work in ink and color on paper. The scroll depicts pink orchids, emblematic of moral fortitude, and green fungi known as lingzhi, symbols of longevity. The title of the paining refers to the Chinese poem, “Lisao’, The Sorrow of Parting, by the poet Qu Yuan (329-299 B.C.) The poem, implicitly addressed to the poet’s estranged lord, claims that the poet had planted over 2,000 acres of orchids, suggesting his purity of spirit. Ever since then, the orchid has been associated with the virtues of high-principled men. This painting will be sent to the Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. They offer specialized conservation treatments for Asian art. The scroll will be remounted on new paper backings and its silk borders will be replaced.