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15 July 2015

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New York Students to Enjoy Chinese New Year with Arts Bonanza

2018-02-09 Download Print

NEW YORK, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Starting from Feb. 13, New Yorkers can celebrate the Year of the Dog in Chinese culture with a city-wide series of festive and cultural events.

Besides a light show using the top of the Empire State Building as canvas, fireworks over the Hudson River, and a New York Philharmonic concert, the New York City Lunar New Year Festival will also hold a free Students Day event with music, art and dance in Lincoln Center.

YEAR OF THE DOG

On Feb. 16, one million public school students in New York will have a holiday for the Chinese New Year, or the Lunar New Year. New York is one of the few cities in the United States where the Chinese New Year is a public holiday.

In Chinese culture, Feb. 16 of 2018 will indicate the end of the Year of the Rooster and people will embrace the Year of the Dog for the next 12 lunar cycles.

"I think it's important ... for China and the United States to really understand each other,... particularly young people," Shirley Young, chair of U.S.-China Cultural Institute, told Xinhua. "And they have a perfect opportunity -- they get a vacation."

One of the highlights of Students Day will be a 40-foot (12-meter) scroll depicting the landmarks of all five boroughs of New York -- Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Bronx.

This art project, in which over 400 students have participated, has been inspired by the Chinese painting Qingming Shanghe Tu, a masterpiece that depicts the lives of people along the Bian River during the Song Dynasty over 800 years ago.

On Feb. 16, students can add images of their own New York lives onto the giant scroll.

Musicians and young composers from the New York Philharmonic will join the Students Day celebration along with a show from Lang Lang International Music Foundation's Young Scholar Program, an exhibition of 150 artworks selected from 40,000 child participants by China's Central Academy of Fine Arts, and other performances.

Two Chinese artists will present sugar sculptures in the lobby of David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center. The 1,400-year-old folk art form is both ornamental and edible.

"They do not just watch... they are actually part of it," Young said. "They are drawing, they are singing, they are dancing. They are doing things that are related to Chinese culture. Hopefully, it will give them a better understanding of what China is about."

DIVERSITY, INCLUSIVITY

The arts are a universal language that can connect people and cultures. "What's a better way to celebrate the Lunar New Year than with music?" said Lukas Barwinski-Brown, chief executive officer of Lang Lang International Music Foundation.

Diversity and inclusivity are the reasons why New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made the Chinese New Year a public school holiday.

The New York Philharmonic's annual Lunar New Year Concert and Gala on Feb. 20 is a big event.

Bill Thomas, executive director of the New York Philharmonic, said, "We've been doing it now for seven years ... and we'll probably continue to do it for 70 more years."

This year, Thomas said, the audience will hear a "ping pong concerto" called Ricochet. Over 1,000 ping pong balls will bounce back and forth on stage, serving as a form of percussion. The piece debuted in Shanghai in 2015.

With children being a country's future, it's important for American youngsters to understand China.

"China is a lot in the news... It's a big country and they hear more about it. Lots of American kids are learning the Chinese language. So they are interested in it," Young said.

Source: Xinhua