Sharing Culture

The arts have long been one of the most effective and transferable ways in which people from around the world are able to share cultural and moral values, making our world seem just a bit smaller. In the past century, the University of Minnesota has embraced Chinese art and culture in various ways from sending musicians to China to sponsoring a variety of Chinese plays on campus. American and Chinese arts and music have transcended national boundaries, opening the door to a vibrant relationship that would not otherwise be possible.

Students Take the Stage

In 1921, the University provided funds to the American Relief Administration to address the famine in China. The University’s Chinese Students’ Club staged a play titled “The Double Tenth” to raise funds, adding $400 to the $3,000 raised through a student and faculty campaign.

Following the Cultural Revolution, the University had the honor to send its student band as the first foreign band to tour China in 1980. The band played shows in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Beijing.


Chinese theater troupe in 1921

Chinese students performed a play to raise funds to address famine in China in 1921.


U of M band in China in 1980

In 1980, the University’s student band of more than 50 members toured China.

Chinese Arts on Campus

The University has displayed several exhibitions of Chinese art on campus in the past century. In 1962, the University welcomed the Foo-Hsing Theatre from Taiwan whose performance troupe included 50 Chinese children. The troupe performed the play “The Beautiful Bait.” In 1987, the University’s China Center sponsored the Nankai University Theater Group to perform two Chinese plays, “Rickshaw Boy” and “Thunderstorm,” on campus.  

More recently, the University Department of Art collaborated with the Beijing Film Academy to produce several exhibitions on campus. In 2011, the photographic exhibit “Crisis=Opportunity” showed and then in 2012 the exhibit “Transition” was developed and displayed, in collaboration with the University’s Department of Asian Languages and Literatures. In 2013, the artwork of University students and their peers in China displayed as “Mirror/Window.” University students traveled to China to work with their counterparts to develop the exhibitions.

Beijing opera

Young members of the Foo-Hsing Theatredemonstrated acrobatic agility.

Art exhibition in 2012

The exhibit “Crisis=Opportunity” displayed at theRegis Gallery on the West Bank of the Twin Citiescampus in 2011.