Celebrating Chinese Culture

Mahjong lessons. Kung fu demonstrations. A dragon boat display. All were part of the Phoenix Chinese Week’s “Culture and Cuisine Festival” at the COFCO Chinese Cultural Center in Phoenix. I did a little exploring Sunday afternoon, and discovered all sorts of interesting people and programs.

Andre Mangum, a Phoenix boy who studies Kung Fu in Beijing, was there with his family spreading the word about the film recounting his journey from Arizona to China. Mom Margot was excited to share the news that Andre is making his first trip to St. Petersburg next month.

So was artist Michael Papaianni, who shared a  copy of his poem titled “Portraits” and a new poster he’s created called “China Mary.” He also introduced me to the director of a local Chines school. I found plenty of artworks at the festival — including tissue paper flowers, paintings and more. Also Chinese food and children’s arts and crafts with a Chinese theme.

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I enjoyed a lovely conversation with women volunteering at a booth for the Desert Jade Women’s Club, and picked up information about annual scholarships they award to graduating high school seniors of Chinese descent. Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, school and community involvement, and financial need. Applications are due March 10 and folks can learn more by calling Mary Tang (480-775-1990) or Barbara Yim (602-439-1162).

Phoenix Sister Cities also had a booth, highlighting the city’s ties to Chengdu, China. Other sister cities include Hermosillo (Mexico), Taipei (Taiwan), Jimeji (Japan), Ennis (Ireland), Grenoble (France), Prague (Czech Republic), Catania (Italy), Calgary (Canada) and Ramat-Gan (Israel).

Click here to learn more about the COFCO Chinese Cultural Center, which is home to a Chinese supermarket, several retail shops and a relaxing sculpture garden.

— Lynn

Coming up: S.O.S. for school libraries, Hometown history, Art meets mental illness


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