Bill Wading presents "All the Tea in China"

2012 Open House

2012 Open House On a bright, clear October 14 afternoon CHF held its eighth open house at the Gramercy Park party room. It was attended by a convivial crowd that included devoted contributors, grant award recipients and honorees and their families.

Upon arrival, attendees were greeted with a sumptuous yet light brunch, meticulously assembled under the watchful eye of Yin Simpson. There was a hum of pleasant conversations throughout the party room as friends greeted each other and made new acquaintances with newcomers.

As the list of grant awardees indicated, CHF is continuing its reach into the wider Twin Cities arts community. Stages Theatre, a mainstream theatre based in Hopkins, received a grant for the development of a novel, Where Mountain Meets the Moon by Chinese author Grace Lin. Our Honorary Chinese Minnesotan of Note, Patricia Puffer, pointed the way towards promoting mutual understanding among all Minnesotans before even CHF was created. Her innate generosity showed through in her friendships with the first China Scholars in the 1970s.

Recipients of our Volunteer of the Year awards, Stephen Tsui and Stephen Mao, also showed their strong volunteerism. Stephen Tsui had been volunteering in the Twin Cities since his student days at Luther Seminary. Our community has been blessed with many as yet unsung heroes.

2012 Passage Volunteer PIcnic

2012 Passage Volunteer Appreciation Picnic   2012 A Passage to China was such an overwhelming success that Passage Committee felt the urge to hold a volunteer appreciation picnic. Underwritten by founder Ming Tchou and held in the beautiful garden of Cindy Bai and George Maverick, more than 50 volunteers came to partake of roasted suckling pig, noodles, salads and fresh fruits and renewed friendships formed during the hectic hours of Passage. It was a great opportunity to relax and get to know each other better. An impromptu renewal of marriage vows took place by the scenic columns at the edge of the pond. A festive salsa dance followed. Had the ferocious mosquitos not appeared at dusk the dance would have gone until midnight!   Visit Photo Gallery

2013 A Tribute To Ming

A Tribute to Ming

August 10, 2013  

On this August (!) day in high summer CHF Friends celebrated the 89th birthday of its founder,13ming2 32 20140103 1022602371 Ming Tchou. Ming’s birthday, on the fourth day of the seventh month on the Chinese lunar calendar (hence her July 4th birthday on her U.S. passport), fell on August 10 on the western calendar this year. Following a Chinese tradition of celebrating the 9th year of a decade (9 in Chinese is pronounced the same as ‘for a long time’) and therefore looking forward to another decade in a long, full life,   CHF Friends feted Ming at a gala dinner at the Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington on her actual 89th birthday on August 10.

A steady stream of guests began to arrive promptly at 5:00 PM. They included many of Ming’s longtime friends in the Twin Cities, as well as supporters of CHF. They mingled in the Garden Terrace, sipping champagne (real or imaginary) and snacking on a roasted suckling pig (a must on a birthday) richly decorated by Asia Bistro Catering. Soon it was time to move to the dining room that had been richly decorated with hanging red lanterns and illuminated dragonfly lanterns at each table.

Upon being seated at their assigned tables, guests were pleasantly surprised to find photos of themselves (usually taken at Passage events over the last nine years), each with a personal note from Ming. Many were overwhelmed by this touching gesture from Ming and the upwelling of good will surged through the rest of the evening.

After a dinner of delicious beef and cod board members of CHF Friends gave a biography of Ming, grantmaking history of CHF, and activities of CHF Friends. Among the most significant of these activities was the commissioning of a new, contemporary opera by Chinese composer Bright Sheng and librettist David Henry Huang, to be produced by San Francisco Opera in the fall of 2016. Bright, a dear friend and admirer, had expressly carved time out of his busy schedule to come in person to offer Ming his (and David Henry Huang’s) personal good wishes. More information about this project will be forthcoming on a separate page. To conclude the festive evening everyone toasted Ming and wished her many more years of a fruitful and full life.  

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2013 Leisurely Evening with Gary Erickson

A Leisurely Evening with Ceramicist Gary Erickson

13garyerickson 20 20140103 1147330526On the evening of Nov. 15, a still balmy Minnesota date, a diverse group of 50 interested viewers gathered at the party room of Gramercy Park to listen to ceramicist Gary Erickson regale us with his 8 delightful summers in Jingdezhen, porcelain city of China. Gary showed us photos of Jingdezhen now and at the turn of the last century. Surprisingly little has changed in its geography or its tradition of producing Chinese porcelain. It remains labor intensive and people driven. There were video clips of its age-old water-powered hammer mills crushing china stone, multi-person teams throwing more than 300 pounds of clay together in making sections of 15-foot tall vases, decoration factories, and a tile village producing porcelain tiles up to twelve feet long!

Gary also talked about learning to work with the Chinese super white porcelain clay (???) in Jingdezhen and reflect on its influence on his own porcelain sculptures. In describing his work Gary says: ‘Sensual forms, rhythms and growth systems of nature inspire my artwork. The characteristics of Jingdezhen’s unique clay has challenged me while translating my U.S., low-temperature, coil-built earthenware aesthetics into China, high-fire, porcelain slipcast work. The concept of Yin-Yang, the interaction of two energies that causes everything to happen, is the foundation for my slip cast porcelain sculptures that embody a unique natural elegance, simplicity and purity. Each form incorporates the spiral as a metaphor for the continuity of life. In Taoist thought, the spiral can be at oncegaryerickson 26 20140127 1843523999 the beginning of all things and the way in which all things pursue their course. I also explore Yin-Yang’s complementary opposites such as the contrast of inside-outside, dark-light to reflect duality and interdependence. My interpretation of Yin-Yang becomes biographical as I consider my creativity with a life both in America and China. My symbiotic relationship with China is reflected in the interdependence of forms nestled within or balanced and perched on top of each other. These life experiences have made the work extremely personal and reflective of my growth as an international artist.’

The delightful evening started with a delicious dinner catered by Asia Bistro Catering. Owner Linda Tam prepared a special menu for us that included cucumber salad, sesame noodles, Chinese sausage in fried rice, ribs with green beans and filet of cod with choi sum. For desert she prepared special glutinous rice balls stuffed with ground peanuts and fresh Chinese fruit that included persimmons and papaya.  

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2013 Hennepin County Library Display

2013 Hennepin County Celebrates Asian American Heritage Month

CHF Friends participated in the Hennepin County Library celebratory exhibit of Asian Heritage at Hennepin Gallery at the Hennepin County Government Center for the month of May. Hennepin County is home to 28 % of Minnesota’s Asian population. This exhibit offered a glimpse into the lives of Asian communities within the County. It included artifacts, jewelry, traditional clothing, traditional cooking utensils, pottery, and materials. Some were on loan and some were from private collections.

13hennctydisplay 4 20140103 1392619576For the Chinese portion of this exhibit, CHF Friends assembled a fine collection of silk robes, silk lanterns, fine china and porcelain, ivory and jade chopsticks, calligraphy scrolls, delicate paper cuts, as well as informative posters on traditional Chinese games such as chess and go. Under the guidance of our master designer, Yin Simpson, we created a display that was both eye-catching and informative. The Gallery was located in a high traffic area within the Government Center and the exhibit was seen by thousands of downtown workers and visitors. The Library received many positive comments about the variety and quality of the entire exhibit.

The exhibit was sponsored by Hennepin County Library and Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health. The Gallery is a project of Hennepin County Public Affairs.May was proclaimed by the US Congress as Asian Heritage Month to mark two important Asian American milestones: the first Japanese immigrants arrived on May 7, 1843, and the transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869. The majority of workers who laid the tracks were Chinese. 

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