watercolorsThose who attended Paul Kwok’s exhibit “In and Out of Tradition” on opening night got a bonus: a reception that was not lacking for food and beverages. Kwok’s approach to his landscape watercolors combine the eastern aesthetic with that of the west. As noted by Robert Jacobsen, chair, Asian Art, curator of Chinese Art, emeritus, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, “Paul Kwok produces extraordinary abstract landscapes that encompass not only quest for artistic identity but also display a synthesis of eastern and western pictorial values, namely traditional Chinese ink painting and authentic self-expression." Over forty paintings are on display. 
 In addition to enjoying the great company of all in attendance, great refreshments and food, the group included members of the Chinese Heritage Foundation Friends who also celebrated a milestone birthday for Kwok’s partner, Pat Hui. The exhibit continues until Sept. 28 at his gallery, Traffic Zone Center for Visual Arts, Studio 120, 250 Third Avenue North, Minneapolis, and is free and open to the public.

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Pavillion at Lake PhalenWhile the seeds for a Chinese garden were planted back in the year 2000 by the U.S.-China Peoples Friendship Association -MN Chapter, resulting in the formation of The Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society (MCFGS), much cultivating has taken place over the years.  The actual groundbreaking ceremony took place during the annual Dragon Festival at Saint Paul’s Lake Phalen Park in July.  For a more complete chronology of the garden’s evolution, visit www.mnchinagarden.org. 

During the groundbreaking ceremony, the official name of the Garden,  The St. Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden of Whispering Willows and Flowing Waters, was announced.  Built on a 1.2-acre site at Phalen Park, this sister-city collaboration was initiated by MCFGS with the City of St. Paul and its Parks & Rec Department, St. Paul’s District 5 Planning Council, the City of Changsha, Hunan Province, the Changsha People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and the Changsha Yanghu Wetland Park (Phalen Park’s sister park) in China.  Changsha has been the sister-city to the City of St. Paul since 1988.

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garden chansha groupJoin in the celebration of the construction of the St. Paul-Changsha China Friendship Garden at Phalen Park.  Three structures fabricated in Changsha, the Xiang  Jiang Pavilion, the Hmong Heritage Wall, and the West Entrance Arch, will arrive around June 30.  On July 10, twelve artisans will arrive from Changsha to supervise the installation of the Xiang Jiang Pavilion, the sister-city gift from Changsha.  Come and celebrate the official Ceremonial Groundbreaking and Sister-city 30-year Anniversary on July 14, immediately following the opening ceremony of the Dragon Festival at 10:30.  Join the lion dancers parade at the Dragon Boat area along Phalen Lake to the construction site to see the progress and take photos of Mayor Melvin Carter and other dignitaries breaking ground.  This will be followed by a celebration at the Amphitheater next to Changsha Master Lei Yixin’s "Meditation" sculpture of cultural performances and making new friends.  Follow: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofthePhalenParkChinaFriendshipGarden/

Website:  http://mnchinagarden.org/

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The Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society announced that the respective gifts between the sister cities of Saint Paul and Changsha, China, have been shipped and will soon be installed in their permanent homes in Saint Paul’s Phalen Regional Park and Changsha’s Yanghu Wetland Parks.

Phalen Regional Park in Saint Paul will be receiving a replica of the famous Aiwan Pavilion in Changsha’s Yanghu Wetlands Park in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the St. Paul-Changsha sister city relationship.  Chinese artisans will travel to Saint Paul later this summer to install the pavilion designed in the 18th century during the Qing Dynasty.

In exchange, Saint Paul is sending five Peanuts characters to Changsha’s park with artwork by Hmong artist Kao Lee Thao, Chinese artist Yudong Shen and TivoliToo, the company that has made hundreds of the statues around Saint Paul. Statues sent to China include Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus and Snoopy’s Dog House with Minnesota state symbols such as a loon, lady slipper, pine and butterfly.  Shen painted the dog house.

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