Chinese arts and culture

Patricia Saewert work on exhibit at SCC

While searching through photos of my kiddos the other day, I found some old photos of a trip to China — taken as part of a “fam” (familiarization) tour during my days working in university affairs. People exploring blocks of bird markets. Men playing Mahjong in the streets. Tourists strolling along the Great Wall.

It reminded me that Scottsdale Community College is exhibiting “experimental Chinese painting” in their art building through Sat, Nov. 3. The exhibit — and reception Sat, Oct 8 (4pm-6pm) — is free and open to the public.

Rosemary Ramos White work on exhibit at SCC

The works, which portray a variey of subjects, were created by SCC artists during an Experimental Chinese Painting class first offered in the spring of 2011. It’ll be offered every two years by art professor Robert You, who trained in Beijing.

These paintings integrate Eastern and Western styles — and feature  representational and non-representational imagery.  They were executed with Chinese brushes and fine Chinese black and colored inks on shuen paper. Each painting has a unique “chop.” which is the artists signature.

Joy Smith work on exhibit at SCC

Custom-created chops, which look like rubber stamps on large blocks of wood, are popular with tourists who visit big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Sadly, mine is likely lost to the ages unless someone from the A & E television network disovers it during an episode of “Storage Wars.”

You can enjoy a taste of Chinese culture at the COFCO Chinese Cultural Center near Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix — home to the Super L Ranch Market, which is a great place to introduce children to life beyond burgers and fries.

The Chinese Cultural Center’s gardens, designed by Madame Ye, feature replicas of landmarks from five ancient Chinese cities and adhere to Feng Shui and Ying Yang principals. Keep an eye on the center’s calendar for festivals and special events featuring Chinese culture and traditions.

Christine Dennis work on exhibit at SCC

The National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China perform Wed, Oct 5 (7:30pm) at the Mesa Arts Center. The Beijing group of 35 sets martial arts, acrobatics and illusion to traditional Chinese music.

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix presents a “Museum Encounter” with three instrumentalists and two vocalists from Phoenix sister city Chengdu, China. The Sat, Oct 15 (11am) “Chengdu Performing Arts Showcase” is free with museum admission. They’ve also got an impressive collection of instruments from various regions of China.

I’ve got an impressive assortment of souvenirs. One day I hope to actually find and enjoy them.

— Lynn

Note: Learn more about Scottsdale Community College at, COFCO Chinese Cultural Center at, Mesa Arts Center at and the Musical Instrument Museum at

Coming up: Music and dance of India


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