Dancing with the Dragon: Contemporary Art from Beijing

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In October 2007, a delegation from Appalachian State University and the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts (TCVA) traveled to China in preparation for Dancing with the Dragon, TCVA's Summer 2008 exhibition and education outreach program familiarizing people in the community with contemporary art from China, and to explore the possibility of a partnership with the Shanghai Institute for the Visual Arts (SIVA). As part of their two-week visit, the delegation met with artists, gallery owners and educators.

Dancing with the Dragon, in addition to exploring the amazing contemporary work being created in Beijing and elsewhere in China, is the first evidence of new partnerships in the visual arts which expand TCVA's and the University's international programming. TCVA, the Department of Art and the Office of International Education and Development have partnered to provide increased accessibility to programs deepening the Appalachian community's educational and cultural experience relating to Chinese culture and the visual arts.

Featuring Beijing artist Zheng Xuewu

A key component of the partnership is TCVA's work with Beijing artist Zheng Xuewu. A Visiting Professor in the Department of Art during the Fall 2008 semester, Mr. Zheng will facilitate outreach programs for TCVA's Community Art School. His wife, Guo Xin Xin, will also teach at Appalachian and specialize in Chinese crafts. Both Xuewu and Xin Xin will be working with groups within the local community, from the public schools to the Department of Social Services, to provide them an opportunity of what life is like in China for contemporary artists.

Mr. Zheng assisted the delegation by coordinating art district and studio tours in Beijing, and his work is a cornerstone of Dancing with the Dragon. With Mr. Zheng's assistance, TCVA's curatorial staff was able to research and meet with a large number of artists working throughout Beijing's thriving art districts. The exhibition is a cross-section of what is going on in the larger art community.

Future exchanges explored

More exhibitions and exchanges are expected as meetings between Appalachian's delegation and representatives from the Shanghai Institute For Visual Arts (SIVA) resulted in an agreement to establish a mutually beneficial partnership to explore exhibition, student, and faculty exchanges as well as artist residencies. SIVA is an independent affiliate of long time Appalachian friend Fudan University, also in Shanghai.

Dancing with the Dragon, and other TCVA programs presented during June and July every year, are a major component of An Appalachian Summer Festival, the University's annual multi-arts festival.