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Flying Off to China: It’s Official

By blog hostIn arts council news

Today our Director, Craig Watson, heads to Shanghai as the leader of a first-of-its-kind arts and culture mission to China. The six-member delegation of California arts officials is gearing up for a jam-packed ten days of cultural site visits, performances, arts festivals, and top-level meetings designed to introduce California officials to their Chinese counterparts and pave the way for “mutually beneficial cultural exchange opportunities.”

What does that mean? Well, reading the tea leaves (ahem), it should mean increased exposure for Chinese arts and artists in California, and new opportunities in China for California arts organizations and artists. It will be fascinating to see how it all unfolds.

The mission is an offshoot of Governor Brown’s trade and investment mission last year. At that time, one of the areas of agreement between China and California was a mutual interest in cultural exchange. Who better to represent the state’s interests than the California Arts Council? We seemed to be the logical choice, so the People’s Republic of China graciously extended an invitation—and we were delighted to accept.

As the state’s official representative, Craig was asked to put together a delegation of arts leaders from city and county governments. The final team consists of Laura Zucker, Director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Kerry Adams Hapner, Director of the San Jose Department of Cultural Affairs; Jessica Cusick, Cultural Affairs Manager for the City of Santa Monica; Tom DeCaigny, Executive Director of the San Francisco Arts Commission; and Dana Springs, Executive Director of the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. If these crackerjack arts executives can’t make it happen, no one can.

It’s exciting to be given a front-row seat to observe, and contribute to, the expansion of ties between the Golden State and the Middle Kingdom. We look forward to seeing those “mutually beneficial cultural exchange opportunities” materialize!

(Photo: Shanghai Opera Company Credit: Trey Ratcliff, Flickr Creative Commons)

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