Cultivating Minds, Building Confidence, Encouraging Teamwork.
Artwork by KC Vienna Connolly of ChART Contemporary and two young artists, Ernest Li age 15 and Claire Fujita age 17, was accepted for exhibition in the Sanlun Yishu competition. Li’s digitally altered photo, The Crossroads, was inspired by the Pop Art movement; Fujita’s sound installation, Real China, draws on the sounds of daily life in Beijing; and Connolly’s digital photo, 635, captures a rare moment of quiet during the typically crowded morning commute. Their work was selected from over one hundred international submissions and articulates the exhibition theme of urban life. The three-wheeled traditional Chinese vehicle-think modern day taxi-provides free rides around the city, allowing people to reflect, comment on, and interact with the artwork exhibited inside. Link
Designing an educational scavenger hunt in a labyrinth, the 798 Art District, proved to be a great way to break the ice during ChART Contemporary’s educational program designed for The Oakland High School and students living in Beijing. The twenty-four participants split into groups and had one hour to complete a list of tasks that focused on discovering the history and development of China’s most well known art district. Cross-cultural friendships formed and the students gained insider knowledge about Beijing’s art scene through teamwork and healthy competition. From hunting down outdoor sculptures to locating historical landmarks and key players in the district, each team documented their results with a camera and pen. Walking down the main road side by side, American and Chinese students waved goodbye after an afternoon of art education through action.
Zhang Ou was the perfect role model for aspiring artists living in China who are eager to continue their arts education abroad. A graduate of the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in London, Ou exhibits her photographs internationally and divides her time between New York and Beijing. Young, intelligent and well spoken, Ou opened up about her art and life to twenty-five attentive students through a slide presentation and Q&A session. She introduced a recent series of photographs that explore the use or misuse of language. This body of work used the Beijing Olympics as a central motif. The group related and responded immediately to the subject. Link
As the Faurschou gallery, located in Beijing’s booming 798 Art District, prepared to open its doors for Michael Bevilacqua’s first solo show in China, ChART Contemporary and forty art students took over the gallery for a preview and candid conversation with the New York based painter. Upon entering the space, we were engulfed by vibrant pictures depicting imagery from familiar movies, toys and comic books. The students, most are heading off to college in the fall, immediately responded to the work. Bevilacqua spoke openly about his life, pointlessness of attending art school and his decision to create art for the sake of creating art. Bevilacqua warned the young creatives about getting caught up in fancy titles and big egos when entering the art world. His laid-back attitude and New York City cut to the chase mentality created a relaxed environment, which allowed the students to speak candidly with the artist. We left the gallery glowing and the young minds felt, for the first time, that famous artists can remain humble and down to earth. All were inspired knowing that the art world is within reach. Link
Facemasks and work gloves were distributed as curator Pauline Yao informed forty eager and puzzled students why they needed to sort through over ten tons of textile scraps. ChART Contemporary and the students rolled up their sleeves to help conceptual artist Ni Haifeng produce his site-specific installation titled Para-Production. For nearly 2 hours, students, volunteer teachers and ChART Contemporary founders worked feverishly to sort through what most people consider trash. A boot, brassiere, underpants and belt were among some of the strange items recovered from piles, which were collected after sweeping Beijing factory floors daily. The group had the opportunity to ask Ni Haifeng questions, which spurred a dialogue about the meaning, significance and definition of art. When the gloves came off and the dust settled, the students made sense of the mess. Link
When the Contractors asked ChART Contemporary to participate in a conceptual market place set-up at the Long March Space in 798, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to launch our first educational initiative. Fifteen art students created a limited edition postcard of their artwork to sell in the open and free market. Each student created ten postcards from an original work and headed to the market with their goods to sell. The group raised a total of RMB 953.00. The young artists participated in the process of buying and selling first hand and realized the pressures involved with self-promotion and distribution. Some had strong entrepreneurial skills while others relied solely on the quality of their work as the selling point. To celebrate robust sales, ChART Contemporary and the group used the cash for a pizza party. Link