I was fortunate enough to be chosen to take place in Because China Arts’ Creatives Exchange Trip to Beijing, China from June 12 – June 20, 2015.
Because China Arts’ mission is to foster relationships, facilitate actionable international collaboration, and promote cultural diplomacy in the arts between China and the US. My group was made up of 6 mid-career, artists and arts administrators from Los Angeles. We visited many cultural organizations, both large and small, including the 798 Arts District, Beijing Dance Theatre, Ping Pong Productions, Chinese National Peking Opera, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre and more. We were also able to meet with and learn about administrative structure and programming priorities in Beijing, from the folks at the Chinese Cultural Ministry, Beijing Creatives, the United Stated Department of Cultural Affairs in Bejing and the Central Academy of Fine Arts. We also saw the exhibits of controversial artists Ai Wei Wei and The Gao Brothers.
China is an amazing country, filled with amazing people and inspiring artists creating really poignant works.
We enjoyed the delicious local food, walked through Tiananmen Square, visited the Forbidden City and hiked the Great Wall. In the picture above, I’m the one in the black bandana. Before reaching that point on the wall, we had traveled about 3 miles and hiked from the unrestored wall (overgrown trails, thick bushes, displaced bricks and huge biting ants) to the nicely renovated Wall you see in the pic. It was one of the hardest and most special things I’ve ever done.
Words can’t explain what an amazing experience this trip was. This trip was literally a dream come true. It was always a dream of mine to go to China, but to be able to experience China and its art on such a specific and unique level, was more than I could have imagined. I was not just a tourist. I was able to speak with, learn from and connect with Chinese artists in an authentic and honest way. I learned so much about the Chinese arts scene, what it means to work in the arts in China, and what Marketing and PR looks like to them. I also experienced the significance of cultural exchange and how important it is for us to get out of our American bubbles and experience the world.
This trip was truly invaluable. Thanks so much Jillian Schultz and Brandon Turner of Beacause China Arts for selecting me for this trip and for sharing with me this wonderful culture. Check out Because China Arts’ website for more info and to learn more about future exchange trips – www.becausechinaarts.com.
Photo credit: Because China Arts